Eating healthy starts at the grocery store. I am sure many of you are busy moms and dads so it is best to set one night a week to grocery shop and prep. If you can get a babysitter, do it together and think of it as a mini date. If not bring the troops and have the whole family help! The first thing to do is buy fresh! Load up on all sorts of fruits and veggies. One fun thing I like to do is try something new every week. Maybe it is a new type of pear or a weird looking veggie, it’s a change so give it a try. The nice thing about fresh fruit and vegetables is that you do not have to worry if they are healthy for you. They are natural and non-processed so you are good. I must warn you that things that say diet or organic may not necessarily be healthy for you. Just because they are labeled in this way does not mean to trust them, always look at the label for fat, calories, sugar and sodium. I once saw an ice cream that was organic and boasted that it was all-natural and super healthy have 17 grams of fat per serving along with 32 grams of sugar! While shopping, also make sure to pick up lean proteins such as chicken breasts and fish. Be adventurous and try new things such as tofu, you will be surprised at the new things you may like. Try to buy things that are whole grain and that are generally good for you. We can talk groceries all day but at the end of the day we all know frozen pizza does not belong in our carts (healthy, handmade ones do two and that’s a recipe for a later blog, YUM!)
When you get home its time to prep for the week.
When people have a craving most of the times, they will grab what is easiest: pop open a bag of chips, go to the cookie jar and so one. Take this time when you get home to create healthy snacks so that when you are having a craving you have a good choice to reach for. Fruit salad is one of my favorites, just dice up your favorite fruits and throw them all together for the perfect summer snack. Also chop up celery, carrots and cucumbers and place them in little baggies with healthy dips such as fat free ranch dressing and hummus close by. I also like to take a sweet potato, slice it thin, put a little bit of spray butter on them (fat free and low in calories) and sprinkle cinnamon on top and let them bake. I also always have a canister of nuts around, almonds, and cashews, pecans the whole mix. Yes nuts are high in fat but they are a good fat and they also have lots of protein in them so I eat them in moderation. There are endless snack ideas, these are just a few quick generic ones but you get the idea, if you open the fridge and there is a big bowl of fruit salad starring at you all ready to eat you are more likely to grab it.
Also, while you are prepping if you are going to have a busy week cook some of your stuff ahead of time. Bake a few chicken breasts and dice them up, same with salmon. That way if you need a quick lunch you can top a spring mix of lettuce with one of the lean proteins, add some fresh strawberries and blueberries, a little bit of goat cheese and fat free lemon poppy seed vinaigrette for a quick, satisfying lunch. You can also cook brown rice, quinoa or lentils, things that take a while and store them in containers for later that week. A quick dinner: with your already cooked chicken, brown rice and chopped veggies. In a pan with a touch of olive oil, ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth and a few splashes of low sodium soy sauce sauté green peppers, baby corn, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Add in the pre-cooked chicken and rice until hot and there is a quick, healthy dinner for the whole family!
The extra work may take a little bit of time to get use to but it actually saves you a lot of time and calories in the long run!