When it comes to eating, preparation is the key to success. As a matter of fact, a study released by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicates that preparing and cooking your meals at home has been linked to healthier dietary habits.
The best way to start is to plan your weeks worth of meals and snacks around the main dish. You can use the front page of your weekly advertisements to find protein and seasonal vegetables that are on sale, saving yourself money while you’re at it.
Portion Control Made Easy
Make portion control easy by using small, portable containers and jars to pack healthy choices like soups, sandwiches, veggies, nuts, fruits, pretzels and even salads. It’s easy to go overboard, mindlessly chomping away if you leave snacks like nut and pretzels in the big bag that they come in.
By using small containers, you’ll have just enough to enjoy a smart portion for a snack, lunch or dinner. These mini containers are available at Walmart. Save 1% and get a $10 gift card by signing up for Ebates here.
Chop Up Vegetables in Advance
Cut veggies in bulk ahead of time and avoid wasting precious minutes on those always busy weeknights. Firm vegetables like zucchini can last for up to 5 days in the fridge while bell peppers, onions and carrots can last up to a week.
Cut Up Fruit
Cut up fruit for a Healthy, Tasty and Convenient Snack. Keep prepared fruit handy in the refrigerator for wholesome and tasty snacking. Apples are the best and typically are cheap when they’re in season. Apples are one of those fruits that are great by themselves, sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon, dipped in walnut, almond or peanut butter.
If you don’t have one already, invest in an apple slicer/corer. With one swift motion, you can have apple slices in just a few seconds.
Pears are great too, hearty, sweet and full of fiber. Just about any fruit can be cut up ahead of time, it’s just that some last longer than others. To keep your apples and pears from turning brown, just soak them in some lemon juice for about 5 minutes. The citric acid in the lemon juice prevents oxidization and browning.
Prepare Your Meals
Last but certainly not least, choose recipes that you can make ahead to make things easier for you during the week. In other words, which recipe, if you made it ahead of time, would make being able to eat a healthy breakfast easy?
How about having handy microwaveable unsweetened oatmeal on hand or Greek yogurt, berries and pre-cut fruit? For dinner, usually the most stressful time to have to prepare food and cook, how about having the prepared ingredients ready to make two or three slow cooker recipes? By slow cooking dinner, you’ll have food ready to eat when you get home.
Avoiding the Vending Machine
If you find yourself rushing to the vending machine in the afternoon for an energy fix, skip the candy bar and keep some small containers with almonds, walnuts, cut up veggies or fruit handy. Even a few chocolate covered raisins are better than an entire candy bar.
When you prepare your food in advance, you’ll notice that your days flow better. You’ll feel great having your healthy meals ready for the week in advance.