| Abigail McShinksy | April 8, 2016 |
Everyone wants to be healthy, right? And eating well is a good first step. As we all know, that good intention can become a tough resolution to stick to when your schedule fills up. And, the Thai restaurant on the corner keeps such convenient hours…. I’ve mentioned that place before, no?
So, before you fill up on Pad Thai for the third night this week, here are five simple tips to make healthy eating and home-cooking a breeze.
1- Plan it out
I can’t emphasize this enough! I’ve been doing weekly meal planning for many years, and it makes all the difference in the way that I eat. I set aside 30 minutes each weekend to browse for recipes -Pinterest, my cookbooks , even Instagram- to get deals and inspiration. A small commitment for BIG time-saving later in the week. From this, I’ll plan out my dinners for the week. Because I’m planning ahead, I can leverage the quick-cooking dinners based on my schedule, making life even more convenient on nights I’m going to be home late.
Know what else this strategy benefits? Your wallet! By planning meals in advance, and making a grocery list accordingly, you’re buying only what you’ll need and eat in that week. You reduce impulse-buys, you save money. Win-win!
2- Embrace Leftovers
Things got too complicated when I planned dinners and lunches separately. Now, I don’t make a dinner unless it will work well as leftovers, and this turns into my lunch for the next day! That way, I always have a healthy lunch to bring with me to work, and I RARELY have to run to the store or order take-out during the workweek.
3 -Don’t Forget Snacks
I even plan out my snacks for the week. It may seem almost excessive, but it makes a huge difference. It helps me keep healthier treats on hand so that when I want a mid-day nosh, I’m still making a smart choice. If the junk food isn’t there, you can’t eat it! Some favorites are hummus and veggies, fresh berries and dark chocolate chips, whole-grain tortilla chips and salsa, and popcorn.
I’m also notorious for realizing at the most inconvenient time that I’m so starving I simply can’t go on. By planning snacks ahead in this way, I have yummy foods I can bring with me to the office with little effort, and I’m less likely to try and eat my desk at 4:11 in the afternoon.
4- What About Breakfasts?
I plan those, too! Whether I’m making smoothies, steel cut oats, or, more realistically, something totally unconventional like veggies and brown rice, I’ve built it into the menu and shopping for the week so I have no excuse for leaving the house in the morning with an empty stomach.
Of course, this isn’t foolproof, but if you put in a little effort on the weekend, it saves you from the high-salt, high-calorie, low-nutrition, take-out trap most days of the week.
Your body is going to thank you!
5- Mind the Gap
Another important note: No diet is bulletproof! I make a conscious effort to eat a variety of whole foods, and really focus on my fruit and vegetable intake, but even the healthiest of diet has gaps (B12, where are you?!). So in addition to planning my meals, I always take my multivitamin to fill in those gaps. This is especially important if you follow a specific diet (hi, fellow vegans!) that limits your intake of certain nutrients. It’s a super simple act that can make a big difference - it just makes good sense!