Brent Lockridge, CNP
5 Key Strategies to Eating Healthy
We are increasingly finding ourselves in an environment where it is more and more difficult to make healthy food decisions. A key strategy to healthy eating is to make health promoting food choices as convenient as possible. By organizing your life in ways that make healthier food choices easy, and unhealthy food choices more difficult, you can improve your health considerably.
Here are 5 strategies to help smooth your path toward healthy eating.
Strategy #1: “No Junk Food in the House”
First and foremost, your household should adopt a simple rule: “no junk food in the house”. This rule is offered out of respect for the allure that modern junk food has on all of us. If we keep enticing high fat, high sugar, drug like foods out of our home, we stand a better chance of keeping them out of our body.
The key is not to demand perfection, but rather to put resistance in the path of transgression. Make it necessary to go out for such items.
Strategy #2: The Weekly Menu
Some perspective here. Over the next 30 years you will prepare approximately 30,000 meals! Anything you do 30,000 times cries out for efficiency and organization. A weekly meal planning system will allow you to organize your kitchen and dietary choices with focus and efficiency.
By identifying health promoting foods that you would like to eat on a regular basis, and compiling those foods on a 1, 2, or 3 week menu plan you take a lot of the guess work out of your daily food preparation.
A key feature of making this menu plan work for you is to have a corresponding shopping list containing all the ingredients needed for each week’s meals. You can then make a stack of photocopies of this shopping list. In this way shopping for the week can become much simpler, since all that is required is to take a copy of your list out of the kitchen drawer and check off the needed items.
You can also purchase non-perishable items in bulk quantities (beans, rice, oats, etc.). This way you only have to purchase these items every few months or so, which keeps your weekly shopping list as short as possible.
The key here is to make healthful eating as convenient as possible. Hunger causes urgency, and urgency demands short term solutions that can sometimes compromise our long-term plans for health.
Strategy #3: Cook in Quantity
Mass production can serve your health goals well. Use the time saving method of “Food Prep” and “Large Batch Cooking” to save you time when you don’t have time to spare. If you like soup for instance, you might want to purchase some oversize pots to prepare large batches that can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later meals. This can be done with many dishes, significantly reducing your weekly meal preparation time.
Strategy #4: Create a Car Pack
If you spend a lot of time in the car you can prepare a “Car Pack”, a lunchbox containing healthy snacks. If you have healthy alternatives such as nuts, seeds, fruit, and dried fruit you will not be tempted by convenient junk foods when you need a snack.
Strategy #5: Getting Help
Fortunately, healthy eating no longer requires foraging the wilderness for berries or stalking wild game with a spear. It does however require more effort than ordering a pizza for delivery from a mobile phone app. For some families it makes sense to get some help. Hiring a cook to prepare healthful foods might be one of the best investments a busy family can make.
Remember, a key strategy to keeping on track is to make health promoting choices as convenient as possible. Use these strategies as a guide.