When it comes to planning and preparing your meals, it’s best to keep things light – in calories and fat that is! Learn how you can lighten up your favorite recipes, shop healthier and make fruits and veggies the centerpiece of your meals.
Plan your meals
The key ingredient to a healthy, balanced diet is a meal plan! Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week, taking note of what you already have in your pantry and what you need to purchase. Use this handy list as a good starting point for healthy staples you can keep on hand.
When it’s time to make your trip to the supermarket, be sure you have your list. Also, don’t forget the Golden Rule of grocery shopping – never go hungry! Going to the store on an empty stomach can lead to impulse purchases of unhealthy items you don’t really need.
As you shop, begin at the produce department and work your way around the perimeter of the supermarket. This is generally where you’ll find the freshest and healthiest options like fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meat. Most of your basket should be filled with these items. Many of the products in the center aisles are packaged and shelved, processed and preserved. Sure, you can find some healthy items like whole wheat pasta, rice, beans and nuts but you’ll want to avoid items like chips, sweets, high-sodium canned soups and other heavily processed items.
Food preparation is key to eating healthy. By substituting or eliminating high-fat ingredients, you can take steps to manage your weight, reduce your health risks and more. For example, a grilled chicken breast has dramatically less fat and calories than the fried version. Also, preparing vegetables without added oil or solid fat can help ensure you get the nutritional benefits without excess fat and calories.
Click here to print a list of healthy recipe substitutions that can help you make meals healthier – without losing flavor! The Fruits and Veggies – More Matters website even offers tips on getting kids involved! The Mayo Clinic also offers information on healthy cooking techniques, seasonings and more.