You’re already mindful of how and what you eat but you’re ready to take your healthy eating game to the next level. But when we’re all busy doing a million different things every day, it can seem easier to grab a handful of chips instead of prepping a dinner salad. But with a few simple hacks, you can make healthy eating simple, painless and even fun. Try these 10 tips to start eating healthy with less effort:
1. Plan Ahead
You know the old adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That’s true whether you’re got a big deadline at work or you’re striving to cook nutritious meals. When you’ve got a free hour or two, plan out your meals for the week ahead – lunches, too! – and make a master shopping list. While you’re at it, do a bit of prep work for the days ahead. Whisk vinaigrette to store in the fridge; cook a pot of whole grains for a quick side for sautéed vegetables or grilled fish; wash and chop up salad greens. Otherwise you’ll come home ravenous after a long day at the office and wind up ordering take-out—again. Need quick-to-make, great tasting recipe ideas? Try these 10 healthy meals you can make in 10 minutes.
2. Make Good Food Pleasurable
This is a biggie. Don’t turn healthy eating in to a chore or you’ll dread it. This is a lifelong goal, so you need to find the foods you like and a lifestyle that works for you. Your best friend swears by Paleo, but if it’s not your thing, that’s okay! There are many ways to eat right. Avoid food ruts by trying out new dishes with seasonal ingredients (like the myriad of fantastic recipes to be found at Fitness Republic) so that you look forward to mealtimes.
3. Don’t Let Restaurants Throw You Off
Yes, restaurant meals are notorious for their jumbo portions and copious amount of salt and butter, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find choices that work for you. One option is to dine at establishments that cater to health-conscious dieters (Japanese, Mediterranean and vegan can all be great options, for example). Another is to be savvy with how you order—try an appetizer portion for your entrée, or set aside half your meal to bring home (bonus: lunch for the next day is all set). We have more smart ways to eat out here.
4. Think Big
Double your recipes so that you not only have enough for lunch or dinner the next day but also plenty to freeze in individual portions in a Ziploc bag. Then on a hectic week when you’re really crunched for time, you can pop your meal in the microwave and have something healthy and home cooked in minutes.
5. Make Your Slow Cooker Your Friend
Dinnertime during the workweek can be stressful for everyone. Instead of facing the stove at 6:00 p.m. when you’re dead on your feet, prep your meal in the a.m. and come home to a fully-cooked, delicious dish. Here are 8 irresistible slow cooker recipes you’ll love. You can also use it for mornings by making a big batch of slow cooker oatmeal.
6. Snack Successfully
Got the mid-afternoon munchies? Like having a little something while you catch up on Empire? Small mini-meals don’t have to derail your diet. Just make sure your snacks are filling and nutritious. Opt for a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds; a bowl of air-popped popcorn; an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter; a hard-boiled egg; hummus with sliced peppers or a serving of Greek yogurt. Need more ideas? Here are 10 healthy snack ideas for any time of day!
7. Don’t be Ashamed of Shortcuts
Most of us don’t have a sous chef hanging around our kitchen just waiting to finely dice, chop and peel. (Though we can dream!) If time is an issue, figure out any and all shortcuts and take advantage of them. Buy individual sized bags of frozen edamame and single serve portions of hummus or nut butters for bagged lunch. Yes, a fruit salad from the produce section is costlier than buying the whole fruit and doing the prep yourself, but time is money, so get the pre-cut fruit or bagged salad if that’s going to make your life easier. Ditto frozen fruit and vegetables which are healthy and affordable and ready to pop in to smoothies, soups and stews! Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market and serve with those whole grains you made earlier in the week and voila, dinner’s ready!
8. Keep Unhealthy Food Out of Your House
If you’ve ever found yourself going back for fourths of cookies you’re not alone. Keep those trigger foods out of your house and they won’t tempt you. If you do decide to buy an indulgence, pick up a single serving only.
9. Invest in a Few Good Gadgets
Do you need anything in your kitchen other than a measuring cup, spoons, a cutting board, a good knife and a few pots and pans? No, probably not, but we’ve found that owning cool gadgets makes our lives easier and inspires us to make healthier food. A few of our favorites: a spiralizerto make noodles out of vegetables, a Yonanas machine so you can make frozen yogurt with nothing but fresh fruit and a food steamer for light and easy cooking.
10. Say Yes to Dessert
Remember, healthy living is a way of life, not a sprint, so you can and absolutely should enjoy desserts. Not only can you work an occasional indulgence in to your week, but there are plenty of sweet foods that are good for you, too. Think a bowl of frozen grapes, a plate of grilled watermelon, a small square of dark chocolate or a fresh fruit salad. Here are 10 more healthy desserts for you to choose from!
This post was originally published here: Eat Healthy Easily With These 10 Tips