Eating healthier at home is often a matter of changing habits and making healthy choices easier than unhealthy ones. Here are 37 ways of eating healthier at home.
1. Remove temptation to make sure you’re eating healthier at home
The number one reason that people have a hard time eating in a healthy way is because there are unhealthy snacks around the house. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it.
2. Prep a week’s worth of healthy food
When you come home from the grocery store, immediately wash and chop a week’s worth of salad greens and vegetables. This makes healthy food as easy and as quick as grabbing a handful of chips.
3. Put healthy food at eye-level
In the ‘fridge and in the cupboards, place healthy snacks in clear containers at eye-level. You are more likely to reach for food you can see quickly than to go searching for healthy alternatives. Place fruit in a bowl on the counter and you are more likely to snack on that when you are hungry.
Also, keep leftovers and things that are more perishable on the upper shelf so you will notice (and eat) them sooner.
4. Increase water intake
Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait a couple minutes. If you still feel hunger, go ahead and eat.
There are plenty of healthier swaps you can make for some of your very favorite foods. From pizza to chips and workouts to holiday meals, you can choose more wisely when it comes to every meal of the day!
6. Figure out what you really want
Elizabeth Brown, registered dietitian and certified holistic chef, believes our craving for chocolate is perhaps “a learned response as opposed to the body actually thinking it’s getting the best source of magnesium.” Chocolate does provide up to 10% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium for every two ounces, but it also comes with a high calorie and sugar load.
Swap out raw nuts like walnuts and almonds instead of reaching for chocolate. Another way to handle a chocolate craving it to coat those nuts in dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) and eat a small serving to satisfy magnesium, chocolate, and protein cravings all at once.
Translating your cravings into what they really mean can be a great way of eating healthier at home.
7. Use a smaller plate
There are some that believe that portion control is the secret to healthier eating. Portion sizes in the U.S. have exploded since the 1950s, so there may be some merit to that claim. Swap your 12-inch dinner plate for a more reasonable eight-inch plate, then follow the USDA guidelines for how to fill it.
8. Spend some time in the produce section
Spending more time in the produce section results in shoppers purchasing more fresh food and less packaged foods.
In fact, spending more time on the periphery of the store where the produce, dairy, seafood, and meat is generally results in healthier choices overall. Avoid the center aisles filled with snack foods and foods prepared with an excess of salt, fat, preservatives, and sugar.
9. Eat more whole grains
Choosing whole grains over processed grains is an easy way of eating healthier at home. Simply swap bread, crackers, and cookies made with processed white flour for whole wheat. Try whole grain pastas and brown rice. You can still eat the types of foods you like, just in different variations.
10. Skip the soda
This is a big one. Soda and sugar-sweetened drinks are a serious dietary issue in the U.S. One can of Coke has more than an entire day’s recommended daily allowance for sugar, with zero nutritional value. Sugar packs on the pounds and exponentially increases the chances of obesity-related health issues.
Struggling with sugar addiction? Wean yourself off of soda by reducing the number of sodas you drink at home, swapping with a glass of water. Work towards treating soda like dessert, offering it only in small quantities as a treat, not as a usual drink.
Must have something sweet? Combine equal parts 100% fruit juice with plain sparkling soda and garnish with whole fruit.
11. Pre-portion snacks
Snacking happens, and it’s generally okay as long as you have a plan. Large containers or snack foods are usually cheaper than pre-portioned sizes, but they allow you to eat more than one portion. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor by dividing that enormous bag of pretzels into easy-to-grab portions as soon as you get them home. Then instead of eating half of the bag when you want a snack, you can grab one and go.
12. Stop counting calories
While calorie reduction can be an important part of weight loss and management, variety and healthy choices are really where it’s at. Eat a wide, rainbow-colored variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
13. Read labels
Many people look at labels for the number of calories and amount of fat. If you must look at labels, look for ingredients you can’t pronounce or artificial colors or preservatives. Foods with these types of ingredients are best avoided.
14. Skip the salt
Looking at sodium levels on labels can also be the key to eating healthier at home. Healthy adults should consume no more than 2,400 mg a day of sodium.
If you cannot seem to get enough salty, delicious flavor out of your food, try to season liberally with herbs, mustard, or acid such as vinegar and lemon juice. Salt wakes up the flavor of vegetables and other homemade meals, but often a splash of vinegar or handful of fresh herbs can provide the same function in a healthier way.
What are some of your tips for eating healthier at home?