(originally posted 3/8/2014. Libbysfitnutrition.com)
Do you find yourself eating out a lot? Frequently eating out usually happens because it is quick, convenient, and –let’s be honest- it tastes good. However, if you are wanting to eat healthier or lose weight, making meals at home is often a healthier choice. Cooking your own meals can be just as fast, or faster, than restaurant eating when you factor in waiting for your order to be taken and food to be prepared. Below are some strategies, with help from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to help you eat at home conveniently, and in more healthy ways.
-First, look at what your favorite types of foods are. Italian, burgers, Mexican, stir fry? These can be replicated at home for fewer calories, and catered to your tastes. You can find recipes all over- at the library, on pinterest, cooking light magazine, friends and family, your dietitian, and many other places.
-Try convenient products at the grocery store- like whole grain, quick cooking, quinoa or you can freeze brown rice after cooking for quick reheating. Buy pre-cut veggies or melons for snacking, and frozen veggies to add to pastas and stir-frys. How about pre-cooked chicken strips or shrimp? They can make meals a snap to make. What else can you think of? Make a list before you go to the store using recipes.
-Write down 5 easy meal ideas to leave on your refrigerator. Keep the pantry stocked with the ingredients for them so you always have a plan when you are too tired to think of what to make. A quick example is bean burritos: on a whole-grain tortilla, add ½ cup of fat-free refried beans, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, tomato or salsa, shredded romaine lettuce, and microwave about 3 minutes until warm through. Add a side salad and you’ve got a meal!
-Are your cupboards currently bare? Keep healthy snack and meal options at home so you have them on hand. You can’t eat healthy at home if you don’t buy any food!
References: Blatner, D., Et al. Counseling Overweight Adults: A Lifestyle Patterns Approach and Toolkit. American Dietetic Association, Chicago, IL. 2009.
Libby is a Registered Dietitian focusing on student eating disorder treatment and prevention. She is working on the central coast to create wellness in individuals and the community.
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