It’s easy to fit healthy eating into your busy lifestyle. These 10 strategies will help you create nutritious, energy-boosting meals in minutes.
1. Healthy Staples
Stock up on healthy staples every week. Whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, canned beans, low-sodium deli meats, yogurt and low-sodium soup will make meal preparation a snap.
2. Prepare Lunch
While dinner is cooking, prepare lunch for the next day. Toss in a few extra handfuls of veggies or an extra chicken breast to use for sandwiches and salads.
3. Healthy Snacks
At work keep a stash of healthy snack items such as instant oatmeal, baby carrots, yogurt, low-fat frozen burritos, meal-replacement bars, string cheese, low-fat popcorn and fruit canned in its own juice.
4. Add Color
Always add color to your meal by including a fruit or vegetable.
5. Snack On The Go
Throw a meal-replacement bar and a piece of fruit into your purse or briefcase for snacking on the go.
6. Do Research
7. Salad Bar
Instead of hitting the drive-through, utilize your local grocery store’s salad bar and load up on fresh ingredients. You can’t go wrong with green!
8. Sit Down
Sit down and eat — away from your desk. Multitasking can lead you to ignore your hunger and fullness signals, making it easier to overeat.
9. Set A Goal
Set a goal for how many lunches you will pack during the week — three, for instance. Tell your friends or co-workers about your goal, and ask for their support to help keep you from straying.
10. Balanced Breakfast
Start the day with a balanced breakfast. Research shows that people who eat a morning meal actually consume fewer calories throughout the day. Extreme hunger at lunchtime can ruin even the best of intentions.
Fast Meal Ideas
- Instant oatmeal with reduced-fat milk and fruit
- Whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter and banana
- Low-fat cottage cheese, fruit and a handful of walnuts
- Yogurt mixed with high-fiber cereal and berries
- Turkey Cranberry Wrap* or Avocado-Chicken Wrap*
- Hummus, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and shredded carrots stuffed into a whole-wheat pita
- Fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, carrots, green onions and canned tuna tossed with low-fat salad dressing and served with whole-wheat crackers
- Vegetarian chili or soup with a side salad
- Apple and low-fat string cheese
- Air-popped popcorn with baby carrots
- Low-fat bean dip with red bell peppers, carrots and celery
- A handful each of almonds, whole-grain cereal and dried fruit
RECIPES — WRAP IT UP!
Turkey Cranberry Wrap (292 calories): Spread 1 tablespoon light cream cheese on a 10-inch whole-wheat or spinach tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded carrots and 2 tablespoons dried cranberries on top. Add 2 ounces sliced lean turkey breast, 1 slice light Swiss cheese and a handful of spinach. Roll and dine!
Avocado-Chicken Wrap (300 calories): Mash 1/3 of an avocado with a fork and spread on a 10-inch whole-wheat tortilla. Add 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1 thinly sliced tomato, 2 tablespoons salsa and chopped lettuce. Fold and enjoy!