Learning to eat healthy takes practice, routines

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Eating healthy is impossible! How can somebody eat that many fruits and vegetables in a day? What do you mean I can’t eat pasta for lunch and dinner four days a week? When am I supposed to drink all that water? How can a cheeseburger be bad for me if it has protein? Pizza covers a lot of food groups, it has to be good for me.

Actually, eating healthy may be a lot easier than you may think. According to the dietitians with the United States Department of Agriculture, there are many ways to start eating better.

Easy ways to improve your nutrition

Improving your nutrition does not have to be difficult. A good way to start is with one of these suggestions.

Keep a bowl of fresh fruit available.

Place a bowl or basket of fruit on your counter at home and/or on your desk at work. Availability is everything. If it’s there, you will be more likely to eat it.

Eat breakfast.

After an overnight fast, your brain needs fuel to perform well. Skipping breakfast probably won’t save you any calories, either. It usually just makes you more hungry for lunch or a midmorning snack. Spreading your food intake over the day—starting with breakfast—is the best way to burn calories most efficiently.

Plan ahead for routine meals and snacks.

People who eat regular meals get a more balanced, healthier diet and are closer to their goal weights. Planning will also save you time.

Pack your lunch the night before.

If you don’t eat breakfast or pack a lunch because you rush too much in the morning, set everything up the night before. Create a routine that you don't have to think about in the morning.

Buy a healthy cookbook or food magazine.

If you like to cook, this can help inspire you to cook healthier foods and meals.

Meal planning

Planning is something we all do to some extent. If you don’t plan what you are going to eat, then your diet becomes very random. Meal planning can make your life easier. You can think about your meal plan once, buy your groceries, and then not worry about it again for several days. Planning will also cut down on the number of trips you make to the grocery store and could save you money.

Menu planning tips

1.) Get out your cookbooks and plan several main meals. Make a list of these menu ideas on a menu planner. Try to think about your week, and plan some quick meals for busy nights. You also can double some recipes that will freeze well, and save half for other busy nights when you don’t have time to cook.

2.) Check your pantry for all the ingredients called for in recipes. Write down all the ingredients you will need to purchase. If you notice you are running low on certain basic items, put these on your grocery list as well.

3.) Now fill in foods that you use to make breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, such as eggs, cereals, breads, tuna fish, milk, and juice. Don’t forget plenty of fruits and vegetables.

4.) Post this list on the refrigerator and add to it as you run out of foods or think of other things you need.

5.) Take the list to the store and stick to it. You save money by not making impulse buys. However, you don’t need to be so rigid that you pass up a good sale item.

6.) When you get home, cut out and post the Menu Planner (so you don’t forget what all that food is for). You may want to write down page numbers from recipe books for quick reference. This way, whoever gets home first can start dinner.

The first few times you do this, it will seem like a fair amount of work. But the rewards are worth it, and you will become faster at the planning process. You can even save some of the menus and grocery lists and use them again in a few weeks.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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