Spending more time at home has led to eating more meals and more snacks at your own kitchen table. There are days when it doesn’t seem like there’s a healthy food left in the house, or cooking a healthy meal seems like too much of a commitment after a busy day. Not to mention days when it’s easier to just give into your food cravings. Don’t worry, we are right there with you.
Sometimes it feels like not only life, but your pantry and refrigerator are working against you, and keeping you from achieving your health goals.
Reaching for the healthy snack or cooking a healthy meal starts with your grocery list. A little planning ahead goes a long way. Plus, it can help you stay on budget and make the dinner time crunch a little less stressful. Here are several tips to help fill your pantry with tasty and healthy options. So the next time you reach for a snack, you won’t regret it.
Take meal planning one step farther
Meal planning isn’t a new concept. It can help reduce stress throughout the week and encourage healthy eating habits. (Check out this great guide if you are new to the meal planning scene.) Take your meal planning grocery shopping to the next level by using recipes that have a few ingredients in common. This means less items on your grocery list and less unused perishable items going to waste after you’ve done your cooking. Here’s a 7 day meal plan to help you get started or find a new favorite healthy eating blog to help you stay inspired.
Look for seasonal produce
Seasonal produce not only tastes better, but it’s also better for your wallet. When a fruit is in season, there’s more of it available from farmers, resulting in lower prices. Eating locally- grown seasonal produce reduces the amount of miles traveled by your food to get to your plate, thus helping to reduce greenhouse emissions! Check out this handy list of what’s in season to get started or watch this quick video on how to pick out the best seasonal produce.
Stock up on frozen fruits and veggies.
Frozen fruits and veggies come in handy for all kinds of meals and snacks. They can be easily used in place of their fresh counterparts in recipes, and even make food prep a little easier. (Anyone else keep pre-chopped frozen onions in their freezer?) Plus, studies have shown that frozen vegetables contain all the nutrients of their fresh counterparts. You can use your frozen fruit to make a quick smoothie or toss in your oatmeal at breakfast.
Upgrade your snacks
We all love snacks. Making some swaps for your typical go to snack can go a long way in reaching your healthy eating goals. A filling and healthy snack usually consists of an unrefined carbohydrate (think fruit or whole wheat crackers), and a protein or a fat (think cheese or peanut butter). Swap your favorite chips for pretzels or unsalted nuts. Pre-slice vegetables and fruit so they are easily available when you get hungry between meals. Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be “boring!” You can up the taste factor with spices, low fat cheese, and salsas.
Keep experimenting in a reasonable range
It’s tempting to buy all kinds of new foods to get healthy; but often times those go uneaten, and then tossed into the trash. We encourage you to try new recipes and foods, but remember, simple is best! Try a new vegetable, but also keep your favorites around! Having more healthy options available at home that you know you like will help you get started in making healthier food choices.
Bonus tip: Be mindful of your to-go ordering
For those days you don’t feel like cooking or your short on time, make sure to think twice before you place your order. Check out these helpful tips from the Academy of Nutrition and dietetics on how to keep your takeout or delivery meals healthy.
It’s all about thinking ahead. Follow It’s Time Texas on social media to learn more tips and tricks!