Changing the way you think about food can be as simple as changing the way you look at the *packaging* of everyday foods you might have in your pantry. Yes, the *packaging, * not the label or other health claims you might see. On a daily basis, I hear: “Just tell me what to eat, just tell me what to do.” However, I often guide people that sometimes it is not necessarily WHAT you are eating, but HOW you are eating a food item. What are you eating WITH that food item for lunch? HOW MUCH are you eating? WHEN are you eating? Are you eating breakfast? Are you eating 3-meals per day? What are you drinking during the day? WHY are you eating? …etc. With a few simple changes in your food choices and eating habits, meal prep and knowing what to eat can be much easier.
Yes, these changes do take a little time, thought, and planning on the front end. Yes, these do take a little practice before they become habit. But, if you implement these small practices, huge steps can be taken towards eating healthier in your everyday life.
- As simple or elementary as it might seem, balance your plate using the MyPlate pattern – For a meal, choose at least 3-groups to balance your plate and complete your meal. Another way of looking at it is to make at least ½ your plate fruits and veggies.
- Always eat carbohydrate foods with protein. This not only maximizes the nutrition you are receiving from a snack, but it satisfies your appetite longer. For example, if you are eating popcorn, pair it with some peanuts (or other snack nut). If you are eating fruit, pair it with a nut-butter of your choice, yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese.
- Always fuel your body for the work or activities you are getting ready to do – eating regularly and consistently throughout the day. Do not skip meals. Do not go LONG periods of time without eating. There is truth and science behind the need to eat at least “three-square meals everyday.”
- Knowing HOW to make food choices, HOW to incorporate everyday food items into your everyday lifestyle simplifies eating healthy for a lifetime much, much easier. Knowing HOW to do these things is really at your fingertips…
Just look at the product packaging of foods that you already have in your pantry for ideas and new flavors. Most food products have meal ideas and serving suggestions on the packaging. Take foods that you already consume or use regularly and prepare them differently – prepare them with at least 3-food groups as outlined by MyPlate. From my own experience, I have found that the recipes and meal suggestions on product packaging are QUICK and EASY.
Below is a link to a simple e-book that I put together from just opening my own pantry with common items that are always available in my household. At the end of this little e-book, I also included a couple of websites that I routinely look at for additional ideas and needs. These are at your fingertips, easy and quick… all you have to do is look! Enjoy looking at your foods and packaging differently – the options are limitless! Healthy food choices can be made no matter where you are at, or what your everyday life is like.