Eating healthy is challenging no matter what, but when you have a hectic schedule full of appointments, errands, and other obligations, your healthy eating goals can feel straight-up impossible! The key is learning to plan ahead and organize your day in a smart, efficient way. Before long, your healthy eating habits will become second-nature, not to mention totally worth the extra effort.
1. Meal Prep Every Week
- Meal prep doesn’t just save time and energy, it’s also key to ensuring you stay on track with your nutrition goals.
- Every Sunday, block off a couple hours to make a weekly meal plan, go grocery shopping, and hunker down in the kitchen to chop, dice, grill, and plan your meals for the week.
- If you don’t want to cook entire meals in advance, you can still cut down the steps by setting aside ingredients and chopping vegetables and fruit ahead of time. Pre-sliced veggies are ideal because you can snack on them raw and incorporate them in meals.
- You can also make things like soup, ground turkey stir-frys, and casseroles ahead of time to store in your freezer so you always have healthy meals on hand.
- Proper portion sizes are a key part of meal prepping for weight loss: Using portion-control containers is an easy way to make sure your meals are balanced, especially if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.
2. Drink More Water
- Research suggests that drinking water before a meal can help you feel more full. An easy way to check that off your list is to carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Refill it regularly and aim to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces each day.
3. Keep Fruit in Plain Sight
- When you’re at home, keep fruit on the countertop. Research shows you may be more likely to reach for it if it’s visible. A Cornell University study found that women who had a fruit bowl out weighed 13 pounds less than women who had cereal or sodas sitting on their kitchen counter.
- Same goes at work: Skip the candy bowl and get a basket and load it with your favorite fruits. Try apples for a hint of fiber, or bananas to sneak in some potassium, and pears for a sweet, low-calorie snack. And don’t forget about seasonal options like grapefruit, oranges, and kiwis.
4. Eat at a Table (*no phones allowed)
- Instead of snacking as you scroll through emails or eating dinner while bingeing on Netflix, walk away from the screens and sit down at a table. Research shows you’re more likely to consume greater amounts of food if you eat while you’re distracted.
- While it might seem counterintuitive to carve out 30 minutes just to eat when you could multitask, a 2001 study suggests that multitasking may actually decrease your productivity by as much as 40 percent.
- In addition, paying attention to your food — chewing slowly and savoring flavors — doesn’t just help you appreciate your meal, it also makes it easier to recognize the signals your body sends you about whether you’re full or not.
- This practice of mindful eating can help you lose weight, but even better than that, it can also help you keep the pounds off once you’ve slimmed down.