Wednesday, February 24, 2010

8 Easy Ways to Make Meals Healthier!

Well, busy parents, is sticking to that New Year's Resolution to drop a few pounds proving to be harder than you thought? Is this the year you are going to eat healthy and get back into shape after having kids? It's not always easy to choose healthy meals when we're racing around from our job to the soccer field, and from the dry cleaners to a charity dinner. But eating healthy can be easier than you think, and small changes can have big results! Whether you are watching your waistline or trying to get your kids on track to healthy eating habits, here are 8 quick steps to take to get you on the right path:
  1. Keep fresh produce on hand. Choose organic fruits and vegetables, not only are they better for you a recent study showed pesticide exposure to be more dangerous than we previously knew. One new concern the study raised? A pregnant mom exposed to pesticides passes the toxins on to her newborn baby at alarming rates.
  2. Cook extra. Save time on those busy days by having pre-cooked items on hand and stored in the freezer. Next time you grill chicken breasts , make double. Slice the extras up after cooking for a handy topping on a quick fix salad or pasta! You'll save time and you won't reach for unhealthy choices in a rush
  3. Stock the pantry with healthier snack options. Try to replace salty snacks like chips with naturally flavorful ones like dried fruits and nuts.
  4. Get out the crock-pot!! It may sound old-fashioned at first but once you start using a slow cooker you'll be raving to your friends about the delicious meals you are making.
  5. Eat out less. Restaurants use lots of fatty ingredients which taste great, but pack on the calories. When you are out, skip the bread and fill up on a salad with lemon or a vinegar and oil so that you eat less. Bring half your meal home for tomorrow's lunch.
  6. Fill your shelves with the basics. Make a checklist of essentials to make sure you keep plenty of essential cooking ingredients like chicken stock, canned tomatoes, onions, potatoes, rice, fresh minced garlic, pastas and cans of salmon or tuna in case you are out of fresh.
  7. Use lunch size plates (about 8") instead of dinner sized plates to control portions. Most of us eat far too much. Familiarize yourself with what portion sizes are appropriate such as 4-6 oz of protein, which in general is half of what we're served in restaurants!!
  8. Don't eat like a kid. When kids go through growth spurts, we can hardly keep them out of the kitchen. Don't eat just because they are eating. Stick to regular meals at regularly spaced intervals and you'll cut your calories and boost your metabolism!