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Tuesday
Dec152015

10 “Lazy” Tricks for Healthy Eating

When it comes to nutrition, who isn’t looking for ways to make “healthy eating” more convenient?

We all deal with countless demands on our time and energy each day (e.g. work, commutes, family responsibilities). The fact is, the “easy” road often wins out.

And, of course, we have constant access to a plethora of processed foods that are always ready and waiting to fill that call for convenience.

However, don’t wave that white flag just yet! What if the easy way didn’t have to mean the unhealthy way? There’s nothing wrong with wanting some “low threshold” strategies to create a better diet! In fact, they can be cornerstones in your eating approach if they help you maintain your daily commitment. Check out these 10 simple tricks you can use today that will reward you with big returns for a low effort investment!

Pre-bag it.

This could mean laying out several plastic bags on the weekend and filling them all with your homemade trail mix to give you ready-to grab snacks each day on your way out the door. I’ve also had clients request their all-natural, pre-sliced deli meat be put into multiple ¼ pound bags versus one bag to help save time during the week when packing their lunches. The idea is to make your healthy meals as convenient and easy to grab as possible!  

Add greens.

Fact: I recommend and believe in eating as many colorful vegetables as possible each and every day.

Truth: Most days I fall short of the recommended 9-12 daily servings. Supplementing with greens has become an everyday “lazy” trick for me to support my vegetable intake. Not only do these greens supplements increase the flavor profile of my favorite foods (think strawberry kiwi Greek yogurt!), but they provide a sizeable boost of nutrition, antioxidants and phytonutrients. I use and recommend this variety.

Buy pre-cut.

It’s amazing how much more likely we are to eat veggies if they’re already prepared for us. Pre-cut produce will cost you more, but having it on hand will make it more readily available as a quick snack during the day or easy to grab to make salads or a dinner side.

I’ve had clients purchase pre-cut “veggie trays” each week that they either stash in their home refrigerator or bring to work. Either way, they can count on having healthy snacks at all times.

Choose fruit.

I consider fruit to be nature’s fast food. Most fruit comes in its own convenient package that’s easy to stash, (in most cases) requires no refrigeration, and takes little to no preparation to eat.

Choose fruit for a snack or dessert, and limit consumption to just a couple servings per day. Consider keeping your fruit at the office or in a bowl in your kitchen for easy access.

Pack your water.

Drinking enough water is essential for optimal health, yet many of us fall short of getting our recommended eight cups each dayMany of my clients complain about not having enough time during the day to continually fill up their water bottles (or simply forgetting to!) or share their lack of interest in the “plain” taste of water altogether.

Try packing your water each day by filling up a gallon-size jug or Tupperware container with ice and filtered water from home. If you have the container sitting at your desk each day and know you should finish the full amount, you’ll be more likely to drink it throughout the day. If you prefer flavor in your water, add lemon, orange or lime slices to your water stash to give you access to your preferred “recipe” all day long.  

Batch it.

Batch cooking is something I advise the majority of my clients to practice. It’s all about efficiency. The fact is, it doesn’t take much more time and effort to cook two chicken breasts as it does to cook one. The same goes for most food prep.

Take some time on the weekend to plan, shop and prepare your meals. However, pick a recipe or two to batch cook on the weekend. Pack it into several containers and then easily grab one each day for your lunch (or re-heat later at night for dinner). Think along the lines of batch cooking chili in a slow cooker or grilling 6-10 seasoned chicken breasts at a time.

Eat the same thing for one meal a day.

Sure, variety is important for good overall nutrition. That said, what helps you comply with your greater goals is key.

While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest eating the same thing for every meal and snack every day, use routine to your advantage by making one meal a constant menu. (You can always mix it up every few weeks if you prefer.) Not only will preparation feel relatively effortless, but your taste will adjust to appreciate (and even expect) the healthy choice.

Eat slowly.

Eating slowly and mindfully is one of the best (and most effortless) behaviors you can learn when it comes to healthy eating.

Whether you’re in an environment where you can’t control the food that’s being served or you just want to work on eating less, practice eating slowly by taking small bites, putting your fork down in between bites and chewing 20-30 times before you swallow. You’ll be less likely to overeat because you’ll be more attuned to your satiety signals.

Make a shake.

I have clients who literally make a breakfast smoothie or shake every single morning. With the unlimited options of different flavors and ingredients, it’s actually hard to get bored having a shake every day!

If you can’t see yourself getting up earlier each morning to prepare a “whole foods” breakfast, get in the habit of making a breakfast shake made from high quality protein powder, liquid (water, milk or milk alternative), healthy fat (almond butter, coconut oil) and some sort of fruit, greens and/or veggies.

I make shakes whenever I don’t feel like cooking for a weekend meal or am in need of something fast when hungry. I also keep a shaker bottle and jug of protein powder on hand at work. If I forget to pack a snack or even lunch, I know I have something healthy and good-tasting to turn to. Need recipes? Check out these ideas!

Supplement.

Without a doubt, taking a high-quality multivitamin is one of the best things you can do for your health. Most of us aren’t meeting the nutritional recommendations for vitamins and minerals as they pertain to optimal health. Instead of stressing over eating a perfect diet each and every day, choose and feel good about taking a daily multivitamin to gain the nutrition that is missing from the foods you are (or aren’t) eating on a daily basis.  

Are you interested in more ideas for making healthy eating easier? Talk with one of our registered dietitians today. Thanks for reading.

In health, Anika Christ, Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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