Six Tips to Healthy Eating

 

For the past few weeks, thanks to prompting from Minimalist Parenting, I’ve created–and we’ve followed–weekly meal plans. And, you know what? It’s super easy to do, and super easy to follow. The results are terrific: meal time is less stressful and our meals are, for the most part, more balanced. 
 
This is no fancy meal planning, though; it is truly just a list on one of those magnetic pads, hanging up in the kitchen. I write down the day of the week and what we’re going to eat. The night before, I defrost whatever needs defrosting. We’re working on way through the freezer and making sure we eat the veggies before they go bad, decreasing the amount we have to compost and saving us from wasting money on food we don’t eat. I’m really grateful for the switch to this plan. 

Now, onto the next step: planning even further ahead, so I can tie grocery shopping to what we eat, rather than cooking just what we happen to have in the house. This will allow us to cook more interesting and new dishes, supporting our commitment to exposing the kids’ taste buds to new flavors. 

But, grocery shopping, especially for working parents with small kids, can be a chore. To help make grocery shopping less stressful and to make sure the trip to the store results in good choices, Stop & Shop’s in-store nutritionist, Julie Menounos, as part of National Nutrition Month, has developed helpful tips for healthy eating, and Stop & Shop was kind enough to share them with me to share with you. Here are six tips to get you and your family set-up on the path to healthy eating: 

1. Don’t shop hungry. Be sure to have a light meal or snack with fiber and protein before shopping to avoid impulse buys. {This is my favorite! How many times have I gone to the supermarket with a growling belly and bought chocolate? Too many times.}
 
2. Make a grocery list. Plan out your week of meals, snacks, and beverages and those you need to restock. Organize the list by the departments of the grocery store to save you time shopping. {I make a list, but organize by department? Whoa. But plan out your meals for the week before you go grocery shopping and then buy accordingly? That’s the next step in mean planning for me.}
 
3. Read the ingredient list. If you are not sure how to accurately interpret the Nutrition Facts label, the ingredients list can provide you with enough information to make a healthy decision. Ingredients are listed in order of weight from high to low. In general, the less ingredients the better. If sugar is listed in the first or second ingredient of your breakfast cereal, look to swap it. {Oh so important! I’m continually shocked by foods I thought were good–some brands of applesauce, bread, ketchup, and yogurt–only to discover, upon closer examination, that they were filled with chemicals and preservatives.} 


4. Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the freshest, most natural food lies. So fill most of your cart with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and dairy items, and then venture down the center aisles to stock up on staple goods like whole grains, beans, vegetable-based soups, canned tuna, and wild salmon. {Great idea–I never thought of grocery shopping like this. I usually go up and down every aisle.}


5. Fill half your plate with fruit and non-starchy vegetables. Fill the other half with whole grains (bread, rice, pasta and starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes) and lean protein (chicken, turkey, beef, seafood, and beans). {My son, after a challenging phase of being a picky eater, now eats everything (except asparagus), and it’s fun to watch him try new foods like sushi and fish.}


6. Add fruits and veggies to your family’s favorite foods. Add strawberries in cereal, blueberries in yogurt, sliced pears in a grill cheese sandwich {yum}, shredded carrots and zucchini to pasta sauce {we use pureed squash} and broccoli on pizza. {I am the master at adding veggies to dishes; my favorite is canned pumpkin in pancakes. And we use fruit as our go-to dessert option.}

Some good strategies, right? But, if you bump into me at the grocery store, and my cart is filled with chocolate, don’t judge, just send me toward the produce aisle. 


One Response
  1. June 19, 2013