I often hear from my patients that they know they should be eating healthier—that they really want to be eating healthier—but that it’s just too hard when they’re so busy, or that it’s so much more expensive.
The truth is, though, it’s not more expensive overall, especially when you frequently rely on restaurant and take-out meals. And it’s not actually difficult, it’s just that it’s not habit. When you live by unhealthy habits, they seem easiest just because they’re what you’re used to; things you’re unaccustomed to seem like more trouble.
So, I’ve compiled some tips to help yourself eat healthier below. Many of them simply revolve around making healthy eating the most convenient option. Take these steps, and you’ll quickly find that it’s not tough at all to make smart eating decisions.
How to Encourage Healthier Eating
- Create a meal plan for the week to help you shop and keep you from falling back on unhealthy options because you don’t know what to make or because you don’t have the right ingredients.
- Don’t buy junk food; it’s a lot easier to exercise will power at the grocery store than it is at home when you’re staring directly at those snacks in your pantry.
- Buy pre-cut or pre-portioned fruit and vegetables if you don’t mind paying a little extra; the convenience makes you more likely to eat them.
- Alternatively, cut up fruit and veggies a divvy them up into individual servings in plastic containers if you don’t buy them prepared this way.
- Use pre-portioned produce to create ready-made snacks like cut-up carrots, celery, and cucumber with some hummus.
- Make up healthy lunches like salads in bulk ahead of time and portion it out so you can grab one on the go as you head to work.
- Buy whole grain versions of bread and other baked goods, pasta, rice, side dishes, batters, etc.
- Stock up on legumes (dried and canned have a long shelf life) and seafood (don’t be afraid to freeze it) so you always have these healthy proteins on hand.
- Fill up the freezer with frozen fruit and vegetables; they’re not any less nutritious (in fact, because they’re generally frozen shortly after harvesting, they’re often more nutritious than unfrozen produce that’s been hanging around), they’re cost-effective, and they’re convenient.
- Get in the habit of carrying around a little baggie of mixed nuts and keeping some in your desk at work so there’s always a healthy, energizing snack around.
- Make large batches of juices and/or smoothies with fresh fruits and veggies and freeze it in individual servings.
- Hard boil a dozen eggs at a time and stick them back in the carton in the fridge for a nutritious grab-and-go breakfast item or snack.
- Drink water all throughout the day. It’ll keep you feeling more satisfied, and even help prevent eating out of boredom.
- Don’t watch TV, surf the web, use your phone, work, or do anything else while eating; pay attention to your food, eat it slowly, enjoy it, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
- Read over and use these healthy grocery shopping tips.