Diet, nutrition, and fitness are hot topics for debate, but there are many basic strategies that experts agree on. Here is a list of simple tips to help you prepare and eat healthy.
Are you working to get back on track with your nutrition and fitness goals?
Do you struggle with eating healthy meals consistently each week?
If your answer is “Yes!” — you are not alone! Eating healthy and exercising consistently is hard work. It takes a lifestyle change – something you can practice over time – to accomplish your health goals.
Ultimately, making lifestyle changes is all about creating healthy habits. Remember, healthy habits take large amounts of time and energy before they feel like part of your lifestyle. It’s no wonder so many of us struggle to make these changes consistently!
If you’re struggling to change your lifestyle and eat healthier, we have 10 easy to implement tips for you. These tips are small changes that you can implement right now to start creating the healthy lifestyle you want.
There’s no need to overcomplicate it, so let’s dive in to these 10 tips to help you prepare and eat healthy!
Tips to Prepare andEat Healthy:
1. Have a Plan Each Week
Do you struggle come Sunday night when you need to prepare food for the week? Do you get home some nights and opt for take out because you haven’t planned anything else for dinner?
This is a sign that creating a meal plan could work for you! Using a meal plan can improve your ability to prepare and eat healthy consistently.
Creating a meal plan ranges from extra detailed to loosey-goosey. Whatever works for your lifestyle is the best plan to get started.
For some, it feels overwhelming to plan out a week of meals!
Making goals that feel unattainable is a surefire way to prevent you from being consistent. Remember, consistency is the name of the game when it comes to eating healthy for life! You might consider planning just two or three main meals for your first week.
It’s easy to get burned out here: start small and make a meal plan that feels manageable to you!
2. Focus on the Low Hanging Fruit
We are all quick to jump on the latest diet train. Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Whole30… the list goes on and on. If you find yourself jumping from diet to diet, but never experiencing lasting success, you might need to double down on the basics first!
- Do I eat 3 balanced meals per day?
- Is there protein in my main meals and snacks?
- How many vegetables do I eat per day?
- Do I drink enough water throughout the day?
- How often do I eat past the point of fullness?
The way that you answer these simple questions might be all the knowledge you need to get started! We often over-complicate our diet because we think we need an elaborate plan. That couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Starting with the basics is a great way to find sustainable success with your nutrition habits! Once you have mastered the foundations of eating healthy, then we can move on to the smaller details!
3. Utilize Batch Cooking
When you think of meal prep, do you imagine getting overwhelmed with tupperware and bored with the same lunch day after day? It doesn’t have to be like that!
Meal prep should be simple and make your life easier! Namely, batch cooking is a simple way to prepare to eat healthy meals. Of course, it takes a little more time and energy on the front end. But that investment pays you back in spades throughout the week!
Meal prep is a great way to save time, money, and energy spent on cooking throughout the week. You can implement batch cooking, one easy meal prep strategy, by prepping a large quantity of just one ingredient!
Batch cooking is simple to implement because you can cook up a large quantity of one thing each week that can be repurposed into other dishes throughout the week.
This tactic works well for protein options or vegetables. To get started, cut them up all at once, cook them together, and be done with it for the week! You are more likely to continue cooking at home if the first step of your meal is already cooked and ready to go!
Think of batch cooking as a gift from your past self to your present self; you will be sure to thank yourself come mid-week!
4. Be Prepared with On-the-Go Snack Bags
That mid-afternoon snack time is a challenging part of the day to stay on track with nutrition.
Depending on the day, you can easily end up stressed, hungry, and tired at 3 pm… a terrible combo for trying to stay on track with your meals.
Enter: snack bags!
Snack bags are homemade, balanced snack options that you put together for the week. The key to a healthy snack bag is that they need to be balanced: combining a protein and a carb works well here.
For example, you may choose cheese, yogurt, nuts/seeds, or jerky for your protein. Add a carb source from whole grain crackers, an apple, granola, or toast. Importantly, you’ll want to shop for convenient options that you can grab quickly and throw together at the last minute.
Combine them to make a pre-planned, balanced snack for your week! Stash in ziplock bags in the fridge and prepare to feel extra organized for your week ahead! Here are some easy combos to get you thinking.
- Cheese + crackers
- Apple slices + peanut butter
- Yogurt + granola
- Peanut butter + toast
- Homemade trail mix with nuts/granola or cereal
Try these options and notice how your afternoon energy perks right up!
5. Keep Back-up Meals at Home
A back-up meal is a specific “Plan B” option for those days when nothing is going according to plan! You know what we are talking about… you haven’t had a chance to go to the store, you don’t have anything for dinner, and it would be so easy to opt for fast food!
A back-up meal is something to keep in your fridge at all times. You can keep pre-made, store bought choices, or keep a meal prepped option stored away in your freezer for a night when you really need it.
Instead of reacting to a long day and choosing a less healthy option, keep back-up meals to be proactive for when life gets inevitably stressful!
Back-up meals might look like this:
- Homemade soup stored in the freezer in portioned containers
- Store-bought rotisserie chicken, prepped salad kits, and pre-cooked rice
- Frozen veggie lasagna with a side salad
The name of the game with back-up meals is not to let perfect be the energy of “good enough” here. For example, frozen lasagna and a salad at home is certainly a better choice than running through the drive thru this week!
6. Review Menus before You Go to Prepare and Eat Healthy
Eating out is bound to be part of our lives! Don’t let the spur of the moment decisions keep you from reaching your nutrition goals!
Firstly, one easy tip for eating out and choosing a health-conscious option is review the menu before you go! Most restaurants have their menu online and easily accessible to view before you get there.
Once you decide which options sound like they could work for you, take an extra step by visualizing yourself ordering those options!
Visualization is a powerful tool for sticking to your nutrition plan!
Plan it out, visualize it, and execute the plan once you get to the restaurant!
7. Opt-in to Online Shopping
In the modern age of grocery shopping, our options for convenience are endless! Online services through your local grocery store can make shopping for food feel easy.
Many of us make impulse decisions at the grocery store – a decision that impacts our waistline and our wallets. Shopping online can prevent impulse buys and keep you on track with your healthy eating plan by not bringing less healthy options into your home!
Grocery shopping can now be done on your smartphone in minutes and you never have to leave your car when you get to the store.
Similarly, you might also consider options that ship directly to your house and make stocking up on fresh produce and pantry staples extra convenient!
Consider companies like:
- Thrive Market: an online marketplace for pantry items and product
- Imperfect Foods: an easy produce box from supermarket leftovers
- Misfits Market: a scheduled, affordable produce box from supermarket “rejects” that are too small or too large to go to market
- Instacart: get a personal shopper to do your grocery shopping and deliver it to your home
- Amazon Fresh: free grocery delivery when you spend over $35 on an order
Check with your local grocers about the options they have to make your shopping experience more convenient! You might be pleasantly surprised.
8. Repurpose the Leftovers
How often do you let leftovers go to waste in the fridge? Those staples can easily be turned into new meals another day without much effort! Similar to batch cooking, repurposing leftovers is an easy strategy that does not require a ton of additional prep work on your end.
You might have extra chicken in your fridge from last night that can be shredded for tacos, cut up for a salad, or repurposed into a soup or stew! You might have a big batch of rice that can be made into mediterranean bowls, soup, or burritos tomorrow!
When you are planning dinner, consider how you can utilize the leftovers tomorrow with other ingredients you already have in your pantry!
The more often you challenge yourself to think about repurposing leftovers, you’ll notice it starts feeling more automatic over time!
9. Track Your Food
If eating healthy consistently is your challenge, tracking your food is an attainable way to begin eating regular, healthy meals more often. Tracking creates awareness, and ultimately, can show you where your typical patterns steer you off track throughout the week.
For example, tracking can help show you that you tend to eat the majority of your food after dinnertime, you often skip meals when you feel stressed out, or that you really struggle with healthy options on the weekend.
There are dozens of ways to track your food. While tracking can feel intimidating, start small by logging with pictures or writing your meals down. Tracking your food could look like using a calorie calculator, using an app to take pictures, or simply logging by pen and paper.
Logging your food can help you become more objective and less emotional. When you aren’t seeing progress, it’s so easy to get frustrated!
When you have a food log, you can easily review it to see when your diet has been lower quality, higher calorie, or full of “fun foods” lately.
Remember, getting off track is totally normal! We all have stressful seasons in our life, and nutrition can be hard to prioritize during these times. Tracking is a simple tip to help you prepare and eat healthy consistently.
Instead of beating yourself up, commit to tracking your food this week, and see if you notice where you can get back on track!
10. Plan Your Night Out
Instead of swinging through the drive through after a stressful day, challenge yourself to plan on eating out. You may feel like it’s easier to talk yourself out of takeout on Wednesday if you know that Fridays are your night to eat out.
Planning to eat out helps create an intentional experience around your food, rather than impulsively opting into convenience foods.
Further, when you plan on eating out, you might find that you will order something you really want and have been thinking about all week — rather than choosing lower quality options in the heat of a stressful moment.
Keep a list of your favorite restaurants in town, and eat at one intentionally one night per week!
If you find eating healthy challenging, pick one of these easy tips and implement it this week!
Remember, overcomplicating your health journey might make it harder to stick with it long term. Sometimes, simple is best!
Which one of these tips will help you prepare and eat healthy?
Let us know – we want to hear from you!
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