Start these 10 tips today to begin your journey to healthy eating without breaking your budget or your spirit. And the best part is that it doesn’t involve dieting, going keto, or skipping meals.
1. Eat a variety of foods in moderation
- To eat healthy, don't eliminate food groups such as carbohydrates, dairy, etc. Since your body needs various vitamins and nutrients, eating from all the food groups is essential. If you eliminate a food group, you miss getting the vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy.
- Eat treats occasionally and in reasonable portion size.
2. Focus on portion control
- Pay attention to the amount of food you eat; don't obsess over calories.
- Use smaller dishes when plating food. Your plate will be full of food, which tricks you into thinking that you are not depriving yourself. However, you are eating less food and controlling portion size.
- Serve meals from the stove or counter. You are less likely to get up and get more food than if it is sitting in front of you on the table.
- When serving food, use a soup spoon instead of a large serving spoon.
- If your plate looks empty, opt for a leafy salad or your favorite vegetable instead of more pasta, rice, or meat on your plate.
- Lastly, go to the USDA MyPlate website to choose portion sizes that are right for you,
3. Plan meals ahead of time for healthy eating
- Planning meals for the week helps take the guesswork out of what to cook each day and will help you eat healthy.
- Use the MyPlate method for portioning and planning your meals.
- First, fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, carrots, leafy lettuce, and green beans).
- Then, fill ¼ of your plate with lean protein (chicken, fish, beans, and eggs).
- Last, fill ¼ of your plate with whole grains or starchy vegetables (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, bulger, sweet potatoes).
- Once you have created a meal plan, make a grocery shopping list. Shop with the list and stick to it.
- Never shop when you are hungry.
- Order groceries online to help stick to a list and not make impulse purchases.
3. Cook at home
When you prepare and cook your meals at home, you control which ingredients go into a dish and save money.
To make meal prep easier and save time, purchase ready-to-eat fresh produce. Examples include lettuce, baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower florets, and green beans. Frozen vegetables are also a huge time saver.
Batch cook ingredients and then mix and match them for various meals throughout the week. For example, roast assorted vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower, cook a container of brown rice, and roast a chicken. These cooked foods can make multiple meals throughout the week, such as rice bowls (top it with your favorite sauce), quesadillas, sandwiches, or soups.
4. Limit highly processed foods
Processed foods like cookies, donuts, and meals from the frozen food section are often full of preservatives, hidden sugar, sodium, and fat. Avoid eating them as much as possible.
5. Family meals promote healthy eating
- There are many benefits for families to eat together.
- Families make healthier food choices.
- It allows families to explore new foods.
- Mealtime promotes portion control-but keep the extra food off the table!
6. Keep healthy snacks on hand
Keep healthy snacks on hand and ready to eat and leave the ones that do not provide nutrition at the store. If they are not in your home, you will not be tempted to eat them.
Try some of these snack ideas:
- Fresh fruit and yogurt
- Apples and peanut butter
- Hummus and veggies
- Spiced Nuts
- Popcorn (not prepackaged microwave popcorn, because it is high in fat and salt)
7. Keep foods for quick meals on hand for busy days and healthy eating
Below are a few ideas for foods to have on hand for quick meals:
- Combine healthy pasta sauce, pasta, and ground beef or turkey for a quick spaghetti meal.
- Purchase a chopped salad kit (which includes the dressing) at your local grocery store and add rotisserie chicken. Taylor Farms makes many options. My favorite is the Sweet Kale. Costco carries these salad kits in the refrigerated produce section.
- Canned beans, cheese, and tortillas are perfect ingredients to make burritos, quesadillas, or soft tacos.
- Brown rice, frozen mixed vegetables, and eggs make quick stir-fried rice.
- Make a quick meal with quinoa, veggies (raw or roasted), and roasted chicken topped with a drizzle of pesto. Filling and deliscous!
- Eggs, cheese, and leftover roasted veggies make a great frittata. Pair it with a salad for a delicious lunch or light dinner.
- Ground meat or turkey, beans, diced tomatoes, and spices make a hearty chili. This is one of my favoirte go-to meals. Quick, easy and filling.
- Keep canned salmon or tuna in your pantry for a quick salad or sandwich.
- My personal go-to is a chicken Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce, corn, grilled chicken, and homemade Caesar dressing.
- Lastly, make your own freezer meals by cooking double the amount of a meal and freezing it. If you do this for a week you will have 5 meals ready to go and they will be healthier than purchasing frozen meals or take out.
8. Avoid mindless eating
- Promote healthy eating by turning off the TV and not eating in front of your computer. Eating in front of a screen can lead to mindless overeating.
- Plate food and snacks. Eating from the original container does not allow you to see how much you have eaten and leads to overeating.
- Eat slowly, savor the flavors.
Give these simple tips a try! They will put you and your family on the right track to healthier eating.
I hope you try some of these tips and that they are helpful. Please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you!