Steps to Better Nutrition!
You are what you eat!
This statement is truer now than ever! Popular fast food options lack substantial nutritional qualities and often are full of chemicals and added sugar that can have a negative effect on our health.
Nutrition is often overlooked when trying to improve our health or lose weight. The topic of nutrition can be confusing due to the overwhelming amount of information available.
Should you eat organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, just grass?
There is an ever-changing way to look at food and it makes it hard to know the best way to eat and ways to implement those changes. When planning to improve nutrition, regardless of changes you are seeking to make, there are a few simple principles that you can follow.
We will dive into the different nutrition option mentioned above (except the grass-only option) in future blog posts. This post is dedicated to helping you increase your family’s health through simple changes. Two simple yet effective steps to successfully change your nutrition is meal planning and food prep. These topics work better when incorporated together.
When choosing food option, there is often a trade-off between healthy and convenient. It is often easier to grab something that is more convenient but less healthy if you do not have a plan for what to eat. As mentioned above, this advice goes together with food prep for convenience but first there needs to be a plan in place. If has been shown that a home-cooked meal is often healthier than a fast food meal and restaurants are notorious for giving you 2+ servings of a particular dish.
Meal planning is best done before shopping for groceries for the week. By going through the week and take notice of any games, practices, meetings, or events that are going on, you can be better prepared ahead of time. When faced with a problematic evening or day, often a crockpot recipe or a dinner in a bag is beneficial for these nights. This tip not only applies to dinners but also breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
When choosing breakfast foods, stick with healthy cereals, simple eggs, and meat, or oatmeal to help avoid the donuts at the gas station or the break room. Planning ahead for lunches and snacks is beneficial to avoid the temptation of picking up quick, often unhealthy options for lunch, or going for the quick sugar fix of an unhealthy snack. You can find great ideas for crockpot recipes, dinner in a bag, and healthy lunch and snack options on our Pinterest page.
Even the best-laid plans can be foiled without preparation. With you meals planned out and the problem spots identified, the next step to simplifying your nutrition and increasing your health is preparing your food. This can help make it as easy as possible to resist temptation. It is important to try to prepare as much of your food ahead of time, when you have time, as possible to make it easier to have a quick yet healthy meal at the ready. Below are samples of ways to prepare food ahead of schedule. Again, you can find different options and recipe ideas on our Pinterest page.
Breakfast muffins-prepare breakfast muffins over the weekend to have ready for those busy mornings.
Shakes- -prepare bags of individual proportions of ingredients and keep in the freezer. This not only helps keep the shakes cold but also reduces a lot of time in the morning.
By cooking lunches for the week over the weekend, and packaging them in the refrigerator or freezer, you have healthy options at the ready.
Bagged dinners- place all ingredients for a particular recipe in bag and place in the freezer. Take the page out of the freezer in the morning the thaw and you have a quick dinner ready to go.
Crockpot meals- Same idea as the bagged dinners, premade bags and simple recipes to cook all day and have ready when you get home
prepackaged mixed nuts, fruit, veggies, shakes can be made ahead of time or purchased (watch for added sugar) and available at a moments notice to avoid unhealthy temptations.
No one is perfect and we often find ourselves in situations where we give in to temptation or have to go out for with co-workers or family. This is where the meal planning comes into play. It can help find these situations ahead of time and plan accordingly. When presented with a sudden change in plans, it is important to take precautions when possible to avoid overeating and maintain your healthy habits. When ordering food, have them package half of the order in a to-go box before they bring it to the table. This will prevent overeating and can be a great lunch for the following day.
When cravings strike, it can be difficult to find alternatives to what you are craving. A good rule to follow is finding healthy alternatives to the flavors you are craving. Examples of this are when craving sweets, try fruit, and when craving salts, you can try pretzels. There are different options for these and other common cravings but it is always a good idea to have some of these items on hand.