Simplify Good Eating Habits
Today, most people are so busy running from one event to another; it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to choose healthy foods over the convenient, prepackaged ones that we so often find ourselves grabbing as we quickly run out the door each day. And, what does this have to do with organizing you ask? Well, simply put...if you have plenty of healthy food available, organized and ready to go at all times, it can make a world of difference in the decision making process...and make it that much quicker and easier to make healthy food choices. So, let’s get started...
1. Separate the good from the bad
A few months ago, I decided it was time to improve our family’s eating habits. I had done this in the past and it had worked out fairly well; but after a while we had slowly started purchasing those old familiar (and very convenient) snack items and pre-made meals we all enjoyed so much. This time, I decided it was finally time to separate the good from the bad so everyone in our family would be able to quickly choose between them.
So, I started checking labels on each item and was absolutely shocked to discover just how many products had unhealthy food additives and preservatives in them. I then separated the good from the bad; healthy items on the left side and unhealthy items on the right. And, when I was done, I was disappointed to discover just how many of our favorite items were on the unhealthy / right side of the pantry.
2. Shop for healthy alternatives
I then made a list of all the unhealthy items I had found and now needed to replace, and drove to a local grocery store that had an extra-large organic food section and started looking for healthy alternatives to replace them. I was pleasantly surprised at how many new items they now had to choose from.
Once I was back home – I placed the new items on the healthy / left side of the pantry and when my family arrived home later that afternoon I showed them what I had done. When our kids noticed some of their favorite snacks and ready-to-eat meals on the unhealthy / right side of the pantry – I thought they were going to have a meltdown. So many of our family’s favorites were included; even steak sauces and salad dressings! It was extremely disappointing. Fortunately, while shopping that day, I had found a lot of healthy alternatives; and after trying them, we were pleasantly surprised at how good the majority of them had tasted. So, after deciding which unhealthy items needed to be thrown out and which ones we were still going to keep, we made a decision to only allow ourselves one or two unhealthy items per week...and agreed that once it was all gone, we would no longer replace them with the same unhealthy products.
3. Always have healthy “Grab-n-Go Snacks” available
Another thing our family has always done (and still does today) is to have a good amount of Grab-n-Go type snacks available at all times. This is actually very easy to do. Just fill any container, box and/or refrigerator drawer with only small or pre-packaged Grab-n-Go type items; and keep refilling them as needed. *Keep in mind...bite size, non-messy items usually work best; and filling several small containers or snack-size Ziploc bags is a great way to pre-package serving sized portions of food that is usually sold in larger sized boxes and bags.
A few suggestions to get you started...
For the Grab-n-Go container in the refrigerator:
- Vegetables: bite size...celery sticks, peeled carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, peaches, plums, pears, grapes, fruit cups, orange or apple slices.
- Other items: yogurt, cheese sticks, nutritional drinks, bagels or pre-made muffins and breakfast sandwiches (bagels with cheese, eggs, bacon or sausage) *Note: breakfast sandwiches and muffins can be made the night before or made several at a time and then frozen.
For the Grab-n-Go container in the pantry:
- Crackers, beef jerky/beef sticks, raisins, apple sauce singles, pudding, pretzels, chips, breakfast bars, cereal, dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, rice cakes and so much more!
For Grab-n-Go items in the car: Any food that will last a long time through extreme temperatures such as dry crackers in sealed bags and certain types of breakfast bars.
Remember to keep restocking your Grab-n-Go items...once a week, after every shopping trip or any time they get low. Keeping those items stocked will encourage healthier eating habits and help everyone find what they need, when they need it most...resulting in much better food choices and much better health.
Doing these things has helped our family make better food choices...and the bonus...we not only look better, we also feel better since we started. :-)
Article written by Christina Scalise, author of Organize Your Life and More
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