Over the years, I've made diet changes to manage a few health conditions, including celiac disease. I'm happy to report these smarter food choices have become lifestyle changes that also help me feel my best. Maybe you can incorporate a few into your household routine, too!
5 Easy Healthy Eating Habits
As you prepare your grocery list this week, consider making small, healthful adjustments to your family meal planning. First, chat with your medical professional about these ideas to see which swaps work with the dietary considerations in your household.
- Choose fresh foods. It's just as easy to pick up whole apples, pears, and peaches in lieu of convenient applesauce cups or cans of diced fruit packed in sugary syrup. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead of their processed counterparts. According to the Mayo Clinic, frozen varieties are also nutrient-rich and have the added benefits of letting you stock up in advance and avoid food waste.
- Use prepped vegetables. My local grocery store offers packages of washed, sliced, and portioned fruits and vegetables to make following a recipe on a weeknight more manageable. Look for these options in the produce section to save time and effort in the kitchen when integrating more whole foods into your diet.
- Try herbal teas. When you want a flavorful beverage but are trying to cut back on soda, coffee, and juices, serve up warm or chilled herbal teas. With flavors like perky peppermint, juicy apple-cinnamon, and tart orange, you have plenty of tasty options to explore. I often brew robust, caffeine-free dandelion-chicory tea in lieu of coffee.
- Make snacks ahead. If you assemble entrees or salads on the weekends to enjoy during the busy weekdays, consider doing the same for snacks. Preportioned, ready-to-eat snacks help you resist overeating at meals, according to the National Institutes of Health. I enjoy having freshly cut veggies and homemade hummus ready to munch on at all times.
- Consider protein swaps. It can be hard to sustain your healthy eating habits when you get tired of eating the same meals day after day. If your meal rotation could use a makeover, explore new vegan entree staples, such as fermented soy tempeh, seasoned lentils, marinated seitan, almond butter, or canned beans like cannellini or adzuki. Recently, I used warm cashew butter with a splash of coconut milk to mimic Thai peanut sauce!
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Now, let's put these ideas into action and onto your plate. Here are a few recipes that let you flex your healthy culinary habits in simple, easy ways.
- Tempeh vegetable stir-fry. This veggie-packed Asian dish from MyRecipes comes together in minutes when you use precut ingredients paired with rice steamed in the microwave or a rice cooker.
- Rooibos and peach smoothie. Nobody will miss carbonated beverages (or dessert!) when you put this herbal tea and fresh fruit smoothie from Red on the table. Serve small glasses with a meal, or use it as a unique breakfast!
- Seasoned popcorn. One of my favorite preprepared snacks that's portable and tasty any time of day is popcorn. After popping some plain kernels in a little coconut oil, immediately sprinkle a small amount of vegan hot cocoa mix, ground cinnamon, or apple cider drink mix over the hot popcorn so it sticks. Or, go savory! Drizzle a bit of salty liquid aminos, hot pepper sauce, wing sauce, or soy sauce over the popcorn.
You don't need to overhaul your diet to make meaningful changes that help you live healthier. Establishing a few new habits at the grocery store and in the kitchen can make you feel great about the meals you put on the table.
We'd love to hear what small changes you're making to help your family eat healthier. Send us your tips and tricks on Twitter!
Image Sources: Angela Tague | Flickr
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Why It's Good
Sometimes the smallest changes yield the biggest results. By being more mindful of your meal preparation, you can improve nutrition density, snacking habits, and speed up the food prep process overall! The kids might even develop a love of healthy food while helping you pick out colorful produce from the grocery store.