It’s March! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has established this month as National Nutrition Month. This is a perfect time to assess eating habits and understand the important role of healthful eating to control weight and preventing disease. Taking charge of your health takes planning and commitment, but the time spent doing so is well worth it! To help achieve your personal goals, check out the following Secret Weapons for Adopting a Healthy Diet.
- Make a Weekly Plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.
Make healthy cooking a weekly priority!
With work, kids, traveling, socializing and the multitude of other possible distractions, we often throw meal planning out the window. Plan around events and make a game plan for weekly meals and snacks. Here are some tips to make planning easier:
- Pick the same day each week to make a plan.
- Find EASY recipes and always make a grocery store list.
- Take inventory of what you have, and then add to your list those items out of stock.
- Have Healthy Foods Available
Keep plenty of healthy foods in your kitchen. Wash and cut up fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week and store in the refrigerator to use as snacks and salad additions.
Here are some other simple ideas:
- Make overnight oats, egg muffin cups or protein pancakes as easy breakfast options on the run.
- Hard boil a dozen eggs and use during the week in salads, sandwiches or as snacks.
- Grill up extra portions of proteins (turkey burgers, chicken, baked fish) and use throughout the week.
- Short on time? Buy “no-cut” veggies: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, or green beans.
- Load Up Early and Ease Down Later
Americans often eat a lite breakfast (or skip it all together) and then load up on calories later in the day. A healthier approach is to eat a good breakfast and lunch with 2 protein-based snacks throughout the day. This helps prevent feeling overly hungry at dinner and calorie loading right before bed. Never let 3-4 hours go between eating and spread calories out throughout the day. Planning ahead and setting alarms throughout the day as reminders to eat can help to make this change.
- Have Dinner Plans Ready
“What’s for dinner??” Always have a plan made in advance for dinner. Having a plan in place helps prevent last-minute trips through a drive through or selecting other not so healthy options. To help with planning, check out the following ideas:
- Keep a list of favorite dinner recipes next to the fridge.
- Prepare dinner ingredients the night before, or prior to leaving for work in the mornings.
- Purchase a rotisserie chicken and pair it with steamer bags of vegetables, or throw chicken in wraps or salads.
- If dining out, go to restaurant website prior to going and pick out the healthiest option before arriving there.
- Assemble freezer bag crock pot or recipes in advance. Pull out a frozen bag and place in your slow cooker before heading out to work. When you get home, dinner will be ready! Check out our Blue Sky Pinterest site for some great healthy recipe ideas.