6 Tips to Healthy Eating
We all know that we are supposed to eat healthier (get our fruits and vegetables, watch our sugar and salt, and all of the advice that we hear so often), but sometimes it is hard to squeeze in healthy meals in the midst of, well, life. These six quick tips should make eating healthy a bit easier to add to your plate.
It is so easy to give in to the easy frozen pizza or skillet meal, but if you have a plan and have the ingredients ready to go, you are less likely to take a detour for the unhealthy option. Your meals don’t have to be elaborate (soup is a great fall standby), but by planning them, you can take the pressure off and know that you are eating healthy every day of the week.
Prepare your ingredients:
In the same vein as planning meals, save time (and avoid the risk of resorting to take out) by prepping your ingredients. If you are planning to use carrots or beets (or any of the other delicious fall fruits or veggies), chop them in advance and throw them in the freezer. When it comes time to make your dinner, you have saved time and have little prep work.
Make enough to have leftovers:
Rarely will a meal be as celebrated and enjoyable as a healthy, home-cooked meal that required nothing more than reheating. By making larger meals in advance, you will be able to have two dinners for the effort and time of one. I love to use my slow cooker and baking dishes to make soups, casseroles, and oven-hot dinners, knowing that I will have enough for two nights. It is so much fun (and relaxing) to pull out the leftovers from a few days and have a buffet that everyone can enjoy (especially the cook).
While you may make large entrees that will last for multiple meals, often the forgotten side dish gets lost in the refrigerator. Sides of rice, quinoa, chopped vegetables, and salads are wonderful for making lunchtime meals (wraps especially) that are healthy and filling for all ages. Not only will this save you money, but it will allow your healthy eating habits to last throughout the day.
Eat a balanced breakfast:
We all have heard the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but really, it is especially true given how busy we are today. Starting everyone in the house off with a healthy, filling breakfast will allow them to perform their best. The slow cooker comes in handy when making delicious steel-cut oats that are piping hot in the morning, and fresh fruits and whole grain toast are easy to serve. You can also have standbys for days when everyone is rushing out the door: a healthy fruit smoothie or protein shake and a hard boiled egg.
Don’t overdo it:
I have a friend who went on a carrot kick, thinking that carrots were healthy and had to be good for her, but when her skin began to turn orange, she knew that it was a problem. While there are dozens of healthy foods to choose from, don’t get in a food rut. Diversify, choosing foods from all across the rainbow spectrum: kale, beets, carrots, mushrooms, and cabbage. Also, don’t wear your family out on any single ingredient; while quinoa is great, having it with every meal makes for some fussy kids who need variety. Ultimately, everything in moderation.
Kristin Marciochi is a teacher and fan of healthy cooking. When not walking her Great Dane or reading a good book, Kristin can be found experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen. Her blog, Shelfishness (www.shelfishness.blog.com) is a fun way to share original recipes, music, and books.