Being a dietitian, I’m frequently asked about my own diet and lifestyle. I get questions about my exercise habits (not enough), if I really cook dinner every night (almost), and what diet I follow (umm, none of the above). But most commonly, people simply want to know what I’ve done to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle and how they can do it themselves.
I can think of simple thing you can do that will pretty much guarantee you’ll eat a healthier diet starting tomorrow. It shouldn’t take much more than 15 minutes and literally, anyone can do it. What is this magic pill I speak of?
Simply setting aside a few minutes to decide what you will eat tomorrow or the rest of the week, almost guarantees you will eat the healthy food you decide upon. Honestly, out of all the steps I’ve taken towards a healthier pattern of eating, learning to plan meals effectively has had the biggest impact. In my experience, both as a dietitian and a human being who often struggles with healthy eating just like the rest of the world, I’ve noticed the vast majority of unhealthy foods are consumed when there is no plan in place. You know how it goes. You’re late getting home after a long day at work and horrible traffic. Starving, you sort through the pantry, looking for anything remotely edible. Even a contestant on Chopped couldn’t create a meal with what you have on hand. The Chinese takeout menu on your refrigerator door stares you down. Before know know it, half your order of sesame chicken and fried rice has been devoured along with a bag of fried wontons. No judgement here. Trust me, we can all relate.
Getting into the habit of meal planning will prevent these dilemmas, and likely save you some money at the grocery store as well. Not sure where to start? First of all, know there are no rules and it will take some trial and error to find out what works for you. But to get you started, here are some helpful pointers.