Abiding by a healthy diet can only be achieved through proper planning and preparation. As you commit to healthy eating as a lifestyle, you must accept that it’ll take work, learning, and experimenting, and won’t simply happen overnight. But…what if someone (the Grow Eat Ohio team, that is), did the thinking and brainstorming for you, so all you have to do is execute? Sounds like a pretty good scenario, wouldn’t you agree?
We’ve concocted a list of convenient ways to eat healthier because we strongly believe that we must help and educate those who want to make a change in their diet. Just keep these ideas in mind when stopping by the farmers market, grocery shopping and cooking, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier diet in no time.
Making The Case For Salads
It’s very likely you’re not eating as many greens as you should be. We get it—it’s hard to get yourself to reach for a salad when other lunch options sound so! much! better! It doesn’t have to be this way though. Having a salad that makes your mouth water in much the same way as a sandwich is possible. The key is building it with ingredients you actually enjoy.
- The Greens: If the thought of spinach or kale makes you cringe, try opting for mixed greens instead. The flavors are a bit more muted, but the fiber and nutrition is still there. If you’re just not ready for mixed greens either, stick with romaine—any greens are better than no greens, so don’t ever let someone tell you romaine “doesn’t count”—and gradually sneak in some mixed greens over time as your palate adjusts!
- The Dressing: The amount of salad dressing options these days are astronomical, so you’ll have to do a little trial and error to find the ones that appeal to you. Instead of committing to a full bottle before you know it’s good, swing by your local grocery store’s salad bar and test out different styles to find what you enjoy.
- The Add-Ins: Sometimes construed as the hardest part, experimenting with the “extras” in your salad should really be the most fun! Need inspiration? Take a stroll around your local farmers market and grab an array of veggies and cheeses there! As you look, think of a protein (steak, tuna, or chickpeas, for example), fat (feta cheese or avocado), and produce options (peppers, grapes, or carrots) you love. Just slice, dice, and top over your greens, then finish it off with your favorite salad dressing. Experimentation is key here, but if you’re ever in need of inspiration, simply type “simple salad” into the search bar on Pinterest or Google to get some ideas flowing. Don’t forget that leftovers can make great additions to your salad, too!
“Must Haves” To Keep You On Track
Don’t underestimate the decisions of lazy, hungry You. When you arrive home after a long day, feeling hungry can quickly turn to hangry, and you’ll be much more inclined to opt for a bag of potato chips or frozen pizza than ever before, despite your determination to eat healthier. The trick is to solve this problem before it occurs. How, you ask? Keep some super-fast yet still-delicious staple items in your home at all times so you’ll be able to quickly satisfy your hunger with something healthy.
- Pantry Staples: Low sodium tortilla chips, lightly salted and roasted nuts, peanut butter, clementines, apples, or dark chocolate.
- Refrigerator Staples (…or should we say Farmers Market Staples!): Baby carrots, hummus, salsa, organic cheeses, pickles, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, celery or berries.
Eating Out & Eating Well
Reality check: No one is prepared 100% of the time, and there will be times you need a quick fix. If you’re in a bind and need to eat out instead of cooking but want to ensure you’re not sacrificing nutrition, there are always ways to up your takeout game. From where to go to what to get, we’ve got some tips to help keep you on track.
- Where To Go: Grocery store prepared-food sections have become restaurantesque, delicious and increasingly diverse in the past few years. From pouring some soup and throwing together a salad, or opting for a hot meal like chicken wings and roasted veggies, utilizing your local grocery store’s prepared food section when you need a healthy meal at a moment’s notice is one of the best weeknight dinner tips we can give.
- Easy Swaps: When you’re at the farmers market, remember that there are always premade options from local vendors. For example, we love grabbing premade pork from a local meat vendor to reheat later. Getting chipotle? Opt for a bowl instead of a burrito, choose brown rice instead of white, and ask for sour cream on the side to limit how much is used. Other fast-food restaurants always have side salads on the menu, so consider swapping out a salad for fries sometimes, or sticking with water instead of a soda. Ordering pizza? Start with a side salad here, too, so you’ll feel full faster and get some veggies and fiber in, too.
Know a friend who would love these tips? Share this post with them! The more we learn from each other, the easier healthy eating becomes.