Do you want a healthy meal? It’s almost dinner time and you thought about this momentarily or you have been asked at least twice, “What are we having for dinner?” You open up the refrigerator, see nothing, look in the pantry, and still nothing. You then go back to the freezer and lift up that frozen pack of something that has freezer burn. One last time you head back to the pantry and realize there isn’t anything appetizing, so you just stare as if a genie is going to appear. Fast food it is!!! Does this sound familiar? If so, consider these 5 ways to help ensure you plan a healthy meal.
5 Ways to a Healthy Meal
Make a List Before Shopping
How many times have you gone shopping without a list only to return home without the one ingredient you intended to buy? Have you gone shopping having good intentions of buying a few items, but saw a brand sponsor handing out free samples of something that was too tempting to pass? Before you know it, you are at the counter with two boxes of this “new” item. If you have a list you are less likely to make impulsive buys and maybe even save a little on your grocery bill.
Visit sites to get ideas for healthy meal recipes such as cooking light, sparkpeople and Pinterest. The great thing about these sites is that there is something for everyone. There are categories based on meal, food group and culture.
Join social media groups to exchange recipes and get ideas from friends. Social media is one way to get great resources for relatively cheap and most often free. Facebook groups are perfect for connecting with like minded people . They allow you to focus on topics appealing to your needs and palate. Consider joining groups for healthy eaters, vegetarians, diabetics or gluten free.
Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store and make it a priority to purchase most of your grocery list from the produce section. As a rule of thumb, in most traditional grocery stores, the perimeter is where you will find the healthiest fare. The interior aisles are often filled with the more appealing items. One caveat though, they are also packed with the most calories, fat, salt, and sugar. So you may have a good time snacking and believe you just hit the grocery store lottery as your cart gets closer and closer to aisle 5 but really you haven’t. Remember, stay focused, shift that cart into high gear and refer back to your grocery list.
Taking a cooking class is a fun way to explore your creative side. It’s amazing how something you
once viewed as nasty and bland comes to life once you add a little zest with your own flavors and spices. It took a long time for me to learn there really were more spices in the universe than salt and pepper. I now understand food can be just as flavorful without salt as it is with it added. Also, my heart is thankful. Per the American Heart Association cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death. Don’t be afraid to explore spices.
Consult a Professional
Consult with a nutritionist if you are still struggling with meal planning. Nutritionists can assist in planning a diet that is just for you. They can address any specific health needs or concerns you may have regarding meals. In addition, you may get guidance and assistance with understanding new products such as supplements. Reading food labels sounds easy enough on the surface, but can also be overwhelming. Nutritionists and other professionals such as a Health Coach are able to provide support and show you ways to make this a part of your lifestyle.
You don’t have to be a world renowned chef to make some great dishes for yourself or family. Now you will probably mess up the ingredients and even get the thumbs down on a few things, but that’s okay, don’t be deterred. Remember, greatness doesn’t happen overnight. Hell, you may even question if some of this stuff even qualifies as food, but stick with it. Most importantly, have a plan. After all, a plan kept me from buying white rice instead of brown. My plan keeps me from admiring the holiday themed cupcakes that are placed strategically near the produce section. It also keeps me focused on the yogurt instead of the ice cream when I’m near the frozen food section. You get my drift? PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!