We all start with the best of intentions, but sometimes life gets in the way. The best way to eat healthy is to plan ahead. Here are some tips:
1) Always have a plan before you leave home. For example, if you know you’re heading out to work or you’re going on a bunch of errands, set yourself up for success. Bring a bottle of water and some healthy snacks that you can throw in your bag, like a small bag of nuts or cut veggies, a piece of fruit or a low sugar protein bar. For work, pack a healthy lunch. This ensures that if you get hungry, you won’t be tempted by the nearest fast food place.
2) Make eating veggies and fruits easier. After you go to the grocery store or farmer’s market, set aside a few minutes to wash the produce and place in a basket front and center in the fridge, where they are visible. You can even slice and dice items like carrots, celery, or bell peppers and place them in small baggies for a healthy snack, dipped in hummus or dressing.
3) Know when to make use of convenience foods. Pre-bagged or pre-sliced vegetables from the produce section of the grocery store may cost a little more, but if you find yourself wondering what to eat, and no energy or ideas, ordering take-out or eating packaged/processed foods is much more expensive and less healthy. So it might be cheaper in the long run to buy prepped produce or salad kits. Frozen veggies are another good option (especially if you find yourself throwing spoiled fruits and veggies away). They keep longer and are just as healthy as fresh – assuming you avoid buttery or cheesy sauces.
4) Set aside time prior to grocery shopping to make a quick menu for the week. This will not only make it easier to shop for groceries, it will save you time and money in the long run. You’ll avoid the mad rush to the market because you forgot that one item that you need for a dinner, and you won’t have to answer the “What’s for dinner?” question when you’re exhausted after a long work day. And you won’t have to throw away unused perishable food items.
5) Automate a meal (but only 1). If you know that breakfast is always a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter or a bowl of high fiber cereal and a boiled egg (that you boiled ahead of time), it will be that much easier to get a healthy meal in and to make sure you eat breakfast. You could also automate lunch or dinner, but not more than one meal, because variety is not only the spice of life, but also a marker for a high quality diet.