Seven methods to make your meals healthy and delicious

178579708Looking for ways to refresh your family’s meals or introduce healthier eating habits? Here are seven techniques to help make your meals not only taste better, but encourage healthy eating in your home.

1)      Stock up on fruits and vegetables. There are a number of ways to incorporate these items in your daily meals. Whip up a breakfast smoothie with low-fat milk and the fruits of your choice. You can always start with frozen strawberries and a banana, and then experiment with other fruits that your taste buds will enjoy. At lunch, consider enjoying a colorful salad, fresh cut vegetables instead of chips or try making a veggie wrap. At dinner you could make a meatless lasagna, or add grilled or sautéd vegetables as a side to your main course.

2)      Buy frozen. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a good alternative if you can’t get fresh produce or you don’t have a lot of time to prep for your meal. Freezing preserves food, meaning additives are not needed. Frozen is a better alternative than canned items.

3)      Eat breakfast. This should be a part of your morning ritual, because it will help jump start your day in a positive way. Looking for easy, quick breakfast ideas? Click here. Think of breakfast as “break the fast.” Morning hunger varies from person to person, but pay attention to your body and eat. A study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The study says, “Breakfast provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration.”

4)      Drink more water. Sugary drinks often take a large piece of your daily calorie intake. There are numerous benefits to drinking water and your body needs water to help it recharge and stay healthy. It may take time, but with a few simple tricks you can add more water to your day. Try replacing one sugary drink with a glass water. Once that is comfortable to you, try replacing another sugary drink with water. Or try carrying a bottle of water with you at all times. You might be surprised how much you refill it. And if the lack of taste is what hinders you from drinking more water, try to infuse your water with fruit, herbs and select vegetables. A number of infused water recipes can be found online.

5)      Read the label. This tip sheet from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains how to read the nutrition facts labels. Learning how to read the labels will help you become a better shopper.

6)      Use the Choose My Plate guidelines. You can find those at ChooseMyPlate.gov. According to Choose My Plate, “the goal is to focus on the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet”: Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, & dairy.

7)      Plan ahead. Are snacks your weakness? You can still snack, but make healthier choices. Here’s a great list of ideas for you try. If the thought of preparing dinner stresses you out, have three to five quick, easy and healthy meals at your fingertips. Meaning, keep ingredients on hand, maybe even leave the recipes and list of ingredients saved on your phone, in your planner or even taped to the inside of the pantry.

To learn more about how you can make healthy lifestyle changes, talk to your doctor. If you don’t have a physician, click here.