Quick Tips for Healthy Eating

The reason why many of us do not keep up our healthy diets is simply because we are too busy. Eating ends up becoming secondary to all of the other functions we must perform in our lives. While working at the computer or running our children from place to place, it is often easy to just “grab something quick” to shovel into our mouths before moving on to the next task at hand. Here are some simple tips for helping to ensure that you and your families maintain a nutritious diet.

Plan your meals and snacks in advance. Though it sounds like yet another job you do not have time for, meal planning really only takes a few moments weekly. You can do this while making your weekly shopping list. Simply go through each day in your mind and plan what your family will eat for each meal and between meals and add the items to your list. Jot it down as you go. These few moments actually end up saving you time in the long run because you will already know what you will be cooking and eating in advance. There will be no scrambling at the last minute to prepare a meal and no unplanned trips to the store for missing ingredients or side dishes. This also saves you money because you will not buy unneeded items that will go unused.

Shop frequently. Ensure you shop weekly (if you can) so that you have fresh fruit and vegetables in the house at all times. When the food runs low it often leads to fast food as the alternative.

When you bring in your groceries cut up carrot sticks, celery, and any other fruit and vegetable snack food you bought immediately and place them in zip lock bags. Now it makes it easy for these to be the foods you grab when you are hungry. Often, we’ll grab whatever is accessible to snack on. If fruits and vegetables are not on hand or will require preparation, we could end up grabbing a candy bar instead. Again, this really only take moments to do and the rewards are worth it!

Keep your fruit out in the open in a fruit bowl so it is visible to you and your family. If your fruit is stored away in the crisper drawer of the fridge it will be “out of sight and out of mind.” On the contrary, if you’re hungry and walk by a banana, you just may decide to snack on that rather than the cookies that are stashed away in the cupboard.

When shopping, buy little or no junk food. If you don’t have it, it won’t be eaten. Replace the cookies and cupcakes you normally buy with something else such as Jell-O, a vegetable tray and dip, or whole-wheat crackers.

When storing your fruit, keep the apples away from the other fruits. Apples actually emit a gas that speeds up the ripening and thus rotting of other fruits. So, though most types of apples will keep up to 4-6 weeks, they can cause your other fruits to rot prematurely.

Gradually change your dinners to include fewer starches and more veggies. Replace the macaroni and cheese with whole grain rice. Rice can become delicious by simply adding a bouillon cube or two to it while cooking. Replace the French fries with roasted potatoes. Replace mashed potatoes with baked sweet potatoes.

Stay hydrated with water. Water is the single most important thing we take into our bodies. It cleanses us and keeps everything running properly. If you have little ones that will only drink juice, cut their juice with water. Start off by giving them 50% of each and then lesson it each time until they are taking just a “shot” of juice for flavoring. Juice has recently been found to not be as good for us as we once thought. A cup of juice contains the same amount of sugar that is in a cup of soda. If you are eating fruit, you get the fiber you need to process the sugar but when you drink juice, you get all the sugar and none of the fiber. So drink water and eat fruit! Send your children to school with mini water bottles rather than juice boxes. The cost is the same or cheaper. And flavor your own water with a lemon or orange wedge if you need some taste.

Take it one day at a time when changing your diet. First off, do not “go overboard” when changing your family’s eating habits. If you do too much too soon and everyone is starving, your new lifestyle will not last and nobody will be happy. Second, ensure that what you are eating tastes good as well. Experiment with different recipes. Prepare vegetables that your family likes. If they hate cauliflower, make broccoli instead. If they will only eat broccoli with cheese, than so be it. Broccoli with cheese is better than no broccoli at all.

As they say in the diet world, “It’s all about healthy choices.” Make your food choices conscious. Before taking a bite think about what you’re putting into your bodies. If there is a healthier alternative available use it! Instead of ice cream, indulge in frozen yogurt. If you must have chips with your sandwich, buy the baked potato chips. You’ll be amazed at how this little bit of effort will affect your family’s health and overall well-being. Everything we take into our bodies affects us. Cutting out the junk food and taking in more fresh fruits and veggies can also make us more alert, relieve depression, and give us more energy overall. Give it a try for a few weeks and assess how everyone is feeling. You may be surprised by just how wonderful the results are!

Christen Pyle is a personal coach and work at home mother. Her education is in transpersonal psychology and before having her daughter and retreating to her home office, she worked as a mental health counselor, employment coach, recruiter, and office manager. She now runs several home based businesses and the website The Untrodden Road, untroddenroad.com untroddenroad.com, that offers free listings of work at home opportunities and businesses for others who want to telecommute in order to spend more time with their children, because of a disability, or simply feel the need to live by their own clock. She also offers personal and employment coaching both online through Kasamba.com and via e-mail.

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