Making healthy eating a habit is more than just knowing which foods to choose. You also need to understand how to shop for and prepare your food to set yourself up for success. And this is where it often gets challenging for people working toward the goal of weight loss and diabetes prevention. Healthy foods aren’t always the cheapest, and it takes time to meal prep.
We’ve pulled together some tips and tricks to make healthy eating just a little bit easier.
How to make healthy eating more affordable
- Watch for sales at your local grocery stores and stock up.
- Collect coupons from the newspaper or online.
- Sign up for grocery store discount cards.
- Purchase produce from stands at farmers markets.
- Plan your meals at the beginning of the week to avoid waste.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it! Take inventory of what you already have before you shop, and stay away from aisles that tempt you.
- Shop in the perimeter of the store. Foods there are usually less processed, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your list and budget.
- Buy less expensive, but just as healthy, vegetables and fruits, like carrots, potatoes, beans, cabbage, apples and bananas.
- Buy frozen vegetables and fruits, and those in season.
- Look for family-size packs and store brands, which are usually cheaper.
- Measure your food into single servings and place it into bags or containers. This will stretch your budget and help you avoid overeating.
How to make healthy eating even healthier
- Bake, grill or roast food instead of frying it.
- Coat your pans with low-fat cooking spray instead of with oil or butter.
- Steam vegetables.
- Trim fat and skin from meats.
How to make healthy eating less time consuming
- Meal prep at the beginning of the week. You can prepare snacks, too!
- Cook large batches and freeze the excess or eat the leftovers the next day — this saves money, too!
- Use slow cookers to prepare meals while you’re away from home.
- When you cook, put ingredients away as you use them or while your food is in the oven to make clean-up go faster.
How to make healthy eating more enjoyable
- Make meal prepping an activity you do with your family or friends.
- Dress up your food! Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Experiment with spices, herbs and citrus juices.
- Make your favorite dishes, but substitute ingredients (like fat-free milk instead of whole. milk) or eat smaller portions to make them healthier.
- Challenge yourself to try a new recipe each week — look for ideas online or swap recipes with friends.
You can make healthy eating a habit. But it’s important to not overwhelm yourself. Start with one or two of these ideas at first and include more of them in your routine as time goes on. Write down which of these tips you’re going to try in your action plan. And if you need extra help, join an official Diabetes Prevention Program. Check with your employer (OhioHealth offers a program for associates), your local YMCA or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of recognized locations to find a program near you.