Wouldn’t it be nice if the healthy choice was always the easy choice?
For most of us, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will always require some diligence and effort. But by building certain habits at home, it is possible to make a nutritious diet more convenient and even more enjoyable.
Here are 5 steps you can take to make healthy eating at home a little bit easier:
Try Not to Make Fresh Produce Last All Week
When you’re doing your regular grocery shopping, it may seem smart to stock up on fresh produce for the coming week or two. However, you’re actually better off to buy your produce only for the next couple of days.
That’s because fresh fruit and vegetables start to lose their nutritional value as soon as they’re harvested. So every day they spend in the refrigerator they’ll lose more vitamins and minerals.
A healthier routine is to buy a smaller amount of fresh produce every day or every other day and eat it as soon as possible. See if there are markets you can stop by on your commute or near your home to make daily shopping quick and easy.
But if you just don’t have time to shop for produce more than once per week, don’t worry! Frozen produce is a great option that is generally just as nutritious as fresh produce – the freezing process helps lock those nutrients right where they are. Keep some in your freezer and you’ll always have healthy ingredients at the ready.
Store Your Food Properly
Eating healthy isn’t just about buying the right ingredients. It’s also about storing them in the right conditions, so you don’t lose nutrients or encourage bacteria growth. Here are some key questions to ask yourself.
- Is your refrigerator set to the right temperature? Your fridge should be at or below 40˚ F, and your freezer should be at or below 0˚ F.
- Are you keeping up with storage labels? Most of us habitually check the expiration dates on milk cartons and meat packages, but it’s important to make sure you’re following the storage instructions on all foods. Make sure you’re not keeping food past its “use-by” or “best before” date and that you’re refrigerating all ingredients that require it.
- Are you thawing and re-freezing? Make sure never to re-freeze meat or fish that has thawed at a temperature higher than 40˚ F. If you thawed more than you needed, it’s okay to cook meat and then freeze it again.
- Are fresh herbs unpacked? Leaving herbs on the counter in their packaging will cause wilting and decay.
Make Fruit and Vegetables More Visible
If you want to get more fruit in your diet, make it convenient!
Research has shown that when healthy food is visible and easy to grab – for example, in a bowl next to your keys – it becomes easier and more habitual to eat.
While you’re at it, you can hide the candy bowl in the back of the pantry.
Make a Point to Eat as a Family
One of the healthiest choices you can make for your family is simply to enjoy a meal together at the table.
Family meals are a great opportunity to teach your children how to maintain a healthy diet. Set an example by serving home-cooked meals whenever possible – you’ll rest easy knowing exactly what nutritious ingredients are fueling your kids.
And it’s not just about nutrition. Sit-down meals make family time a daily priority and provide an occasion for you to share stories and connect with one another.
Focus on Mealtime
Savor your food, and it won’t just taste better – it will also be healthier.
Research has shown that distracted eating can lead to bigger meals and more weight gain. That includes eating while watching TV, eating while scrolling through your phone or even just rushing through a meal. So, slow down and try to enjoy every bite – it’s good for you!