Serve your salad (and your family’s) right when you start cooking dinner. Since you’re hungry and the hot food isn’t ready yet, you’ll
fill up on more healthy salad than you would if you served it just before
the meal hits the table (or worse, at the same time). Over time, increase
the size of the salad, and lessen the amount you’re cooking.
Keep ingredients on hand for no fewer than three dinners-in-a-pinch. These are meals that you can make with little effort and time, and ones
you can fall back on when your day gets away from you. Having these ingredients
on hand is a good tactic to prevent going out to eat at the last minute
or ordering takeout, which can lead to several unhealthy meals in a row
due to inertia or leftovers. Your dinners in a pinch might not be as healthy
as you’d like — you’re looking for ingredients that
can sit for a few weeks without going bad, so not a lot of fresh veggies
— but they’ll get you through a stressful day or two until
you can get back on track. (For example—a quick red lentil curry.
Also, pasta with quick tomato sauce and chickpeas.)
When you discover a meal that meets the big four criteria (tasty, healthy,
quick, and cheap), for the love of all that is holy, write it down! Keep the growing list of these meals in your wallet or phone (with ingredients,
or links to the recipes online) so that you can stop by the store on the
way home from work when you realize you’ve got nothing for dinner.
4.Anytime you make veggie burgers, make a double or triple batch. Freeze the leftovers, and when you need a quick, cheap, and easy healthy
meal, crumble one on top of a salad. Or put it in a pita. Or eat it by
itself. Five-minute meal.
Same goes for soups, which you can thaw and serve over pasta or rice for
an easy meal.
6. One more on this theme:
make a big batch of pesto and use a melon baller to freeze 2-tablespoon
size balls. For a fast weeknight meal, thaw with a few tablespoons of hot water and
toss with pasta.
7. Start with a meal that’s healthy but not hearty (salad, soup,
or the pasta with pesto above).Add chickpeas. Bam! Filling meal.
Don’t rule out vegan meal services, even if you’re on a budget. Economies of scale allow them to purchase food for way cheaper than you
can, so even after the cost of delivery and their markup, you might not
pay much more than you would if you shopped yourself. Plus, oh yeah, you
don’t have to shop. Or prep most of the ingredients. Or think about
what to make. Or eat the same old thing again.
Don’t buy junk food at the grocery store. Just flat-out refuse to do it. Make it your policy. If it’s not
in your house, you’re so much less likely to put in the effort to
go get it.
Put out a snack bowl in a high-traffic area (we do it for our kids, but it also works for grown-ups). Fill it with
whole or chopped fruits and veggies, a trail mix, maybe even some hummus.
Then when your kids pass through or do something at the table, you’ll
see them snacking on healthy food without even realizing they’re
doing it. Hat tip to Dr. Fuhrman.
Chop your salad vegetables for the week all at once, on the weekend. Easy to do, but so easy not to do. Do it.
Make a big batch of rice (or another food you eat often) to last you the
entire week. And you can do it with beans and vegetables too, though veggies generally
don’t keep quite as well in the fridge. But the freezer is always
13. If you’re stuck for meal planning ideas because you’ve
got too many
give yourself some constraints. Pick a fresh veggie you need to use up, and search the index of a favorite
cookbook for that ingredient. Or pick a theme for each night of the week
— by ethnicity, color, anything — and search within those
Follow a “fruit first,” “salad first,” or “water
first” rule if weight loss is part of your health goals. This way, there’s no “missing out” on anything more
calorie dense—just a natural desire to eat a little less of it.
When your greens start to go, move them to the freezer to use for smoothies. Start with small amounts, and you might be surprised at how little you
can taste that extra nutrition.
Skip certain herbs and spices or make substitutions when it’ll save
you a grocery trip or time in the store. Chefs who create recipes are artists, and if your goal is to experience
the highest expression of the chef’s creativity, then yes, you should
follow the recipe exactly. But for you, the guy or girl who just wants
to start eating well and to do it as simply as possible, then it’s
not going to matter much whether you use fancy sherry vinegar or substitute
the apple cider vinegar you’ve had in the cupboard for the past
two years. Sure, maybe something will taste weird now and then. But in
the long run you can save a lot of money and effort this way, and almost
nobody’s going to notice.
If you’ve tried and failed to go vegetarian, vegan, or whole-foodist
(or harder, to get your whole family to do so), bite off a smaller chunk. Pick a time in the morning and follow your ideal diet until that point.
As you get comfortable and build a string of successes, slowly move the
line further back in the day.
Torrance Memorial Food and Nutrition Services
National Nutrition Month 2017