Many people have contacted me with nutrition questions. Many ask, “How can I fit in “eat nutritious meals” with my busy lifestyle?”. Below are 7 simple steps you take for yourself and/or with your family to eat healthier and still have time to live! (My favorites are #5 and #6 because I use them every week. What are your favorites?)
Planning is the key to providing healthy, sit-down meals as an individual or as a family. Taking a half hour to plan out snacks and meals for the week can make an amazing improvement in your health. It is said that most people spend more time on planning a vacation than on taking time to plan things that would have a great impact on their lives. By keeping a family calendar to track everyone’s activities and a family notebook or computer file to keep track of important family information, favorite family recipes, shopping lists, and food preferences can not only save a tremendous amount of time for your family, but also improve everyone’s health.
- Get out all of your recipe books or look online and have each person make a list of his/her favorite meals.
- Have each person make a list of his/her favorite healthy snacks.
- Plan which day (and which person!) will do the shopping so that healthier choices like fruits and vegetables are always available.
- Each evening when you arrive home before dinner, put out a plate of fresh veggies with low-fat dip. You will be amazed how many vegetables you and your family will eat before the meal is even served!
- Grill a large amount of chicken and beef on the weekend. Immediately after grilling, cut up the meat into bite-size pieces. Place in freezer bags and put into the freezer. Break off a chunk for soups, quesadillas, stir-fry, or any meal that calls for meat. Or, add a whole-grain, vegetable, and a glass of milk, and you have a well-balanced meal.
- Buy a rice cooker with a timer. Add rice, water, and set the timer for your dinner time and you can have cooked, warm rice ready for your family. The rice cooker can also be used to have fresh, warm oatmeal (or many other whole-grains) when you wake up in the morning!
- Finally, a meal does not need to be “traditional” to be healthy. As long as the meal has a serving from each food group, it is well balanced. That means, that if you decide to serve a dinner of chicken salad made with low-fat mayonnaise, and raisins, rolled up in whole-wheat pancakes, served with a salad and a glass of milk, it is well-balanced and healthy.
Like most things in life, if we simplify them, they are better for us. Let’s use this week to simplify our nutrition.