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Back to the basics

Simple steps to keep your healthy eating habits on track.

Article Author: Katie Nussbaum

Article Date:

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Busy schedules, fast food delivery apps, and easy access to snacks in the checkout line can often make staying on track with your healthy eating habits seem impossible, but kicking that feeling might be easier than you think.

If you often feel overwhelmed when it comes to making and maintaining healthy choices, go back to the basics, said Diana Rosito, wellness coach at the Baptist North Y Healthy Living Center.

“Things like meal prepping can be done in any form you want,” Rosito said. “It does take some planning, but don’t overcomplicate it.”

Be prepared

Making meals ahead of time saves you the hassle of deciding what to have for lunch or dinner every day and also helps you save time and money.

“Meal prepping gives you time to plan and have more variety, and keeps you organized. Because it saves time, you're less stressed out, which can help you develop a better relationship with food, as well,” Rosito said. “It can also help you save money and manage your portion size.”

Rosito recommended setting aside at least two hours on a single day to prep meals for the week. When it comes to deciding what to cook, keep it simple. When building the meal, the vegetable portion should be half of the plate with the protein and carbohydrates split into quarters.

It doesn't have to be complicated. Focus on those three categories and make up your meals from there,” she said.

For an even quicker meal prep session, stock up on things like microwaveable rice or frozen vegetables. Or, check out the grocery store for meal kits or a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.

Know before you go

When it comes to grocery shopping, Rosito said to follow the two golden rules:

  1. Never shop when you’re hungry
  2. Always shop with a list

“Try to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store because that tends to be where the healthier options like fresh produce and meats are,” she said. “Of course, if you need to get frozen or canned items, there are healthy choices, but those are my go-to rules for the grocery store.”

Avoiding impulses

It doesn’t matter if you’re in line at a home goods store or the hardware store, you’ll likely find an assortment of chips, chocolate and sugary drinks on the checkout aisle shelves. It might be easy to toss a candy bar into your basket, but like meal prepping or sticking to your grocery list, there are simple steps to help you avoid that sugar crash.

“It’s great to always have healthy snacks on hand. You can store them in your car or handbag, wherever they’re accessible,” Rosito said.

She recommended keeping snacks under 200 calories, especially if you’re going to have a meal soon. If you need quick options, Rosito suggested cheese, nuts, whole grain crackers, granola bars, or even a packet of tuna fish.

“You want to have a good ratio of carbs and protein, but a protein-rich snack will help keep you fuller longer,” she said. “It’s never a bad idea to have a healthy snack on hand.”

Another way to help you stick to the essentials is ordering your grocery haul online.

“When you order groceries online, you’re typically typing in exactly what you need, so it’s going to help you stay away from adding additional items,” Rosito said.

Do you have questions about healthy eating habits? Baptist Centers for Healthy Living provide health coaching at locations throughout the community. You can request a free health screening online.

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