Organizing for Healthy Eating

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Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to “lose weight” or “eat better”?

Whatever this means to you (see last week’s post about Resolutions That Stick), you will have a better chance of achieving your goal if you make a few organizing tweaks in your home and schedule:

Remove unhealthy food from your kitchen and larder. Seriously, just throw them out. If you don’t see them, you won’t be tempted by them. If you absolutely must have sugary or high carb foods around for other family members, then put those foods into opaque containers and move them out of your line of vision. (Added bonus: other family members may follow the example you set and, over time, you’ll be buying less of those foods anyway!)

Look at your kitchen, fridge, and larder with a fresh eye:

  • Move the foods you want to eat more of to the front of the shelf in the fridge and larder.

  • Rearrange the pots, pans, casserole dishes and appliances you’ll want to use the most so they are easy to get to.

Research healthy recipes:

  • Go through the books and recipes you already have and put colored page markers like these on the recipes that catch your eye. You can use different colors for different categories, e.g. simple meals, batch meals, healthy snacks.

  • Spend a little time (and I mean a little) researching recipes online if you need more to choose from – don’t spend more than half an hour on this – and print or save no more than 5 recipes. You can always come back to online research another time when you run out of ideas or want a specific recipe.

Short-list the recipes you will try over the next 2 weeks. Add the ingredients you’ll need to your shopping list. Go shopping before you attack any of the recipes!

Calendarize the recipes - yes, put them  on your calendar. Being mindful about your cooking schedule will force you think about the best days for making time-intensive meals (e.g. batch-cooking). It also reduces the stress of trying to figure out what to make that evening (and having the main ingredient stare back at you from the freezer). This approach to planning meals is the food equivalent of picking out the clothes your kids will wear for the week!

Organize mealtimes to be conducive to digestion! Mealtimes give us the opportunity to slow down, to focus on physical nourishment, to savor the taste and experience of a healthy and satisfying meal. Having an unwritten rule that mealtime is family time, and to strive for positive rather than negative conversation, will also contribute to good digestion.

Happy eating, and to your good health!