If you’re trying to create healthier eating habits, I know how hard it can feel. What if I told you that it didn’t have to be so difficult? It seems sometimes like there is so much stacked against us! Lack of time makes it easy to stop for fast food. Lack of money has us buying the terrible, but really easy and cheap, packaged meals.
These are all very real issues that have so many parents falling into unhealthy eating habits. But you really can start to create healthier eating habits by changing just a few small things! Best of all they are all completely doable on minimal budgets and time.
Create healthier eating habits with these 5 changes.
1. Plate and put away food immediately.
We used to overeat all the time. It was a huge struggle not to! When we stopped serving everything “family style” the majority of that went away. We used to eat way more than necessary every night at dinner.
Now, we plate each item after it’s done cooking. Then we immediately put the rest into containers for the fridge. Without everything being in bowls or left in pots and pans, we’re a lot less likely to get seconds. We rarely eat more than what we had one our plate at the start. We always have leftovers for the next day and everyone always has enough to eat.
It doesn’t take us any extra time and keeps us from eating a lot more than we need.
2. Bring snacks from home when you go out.
This one is huge! Not only will this save you from buying junk-food, but it will save you money! Especially if you have kids that are particularly snackish like mine.
Every time you grocery shop, pick up a few things that you can easily take with you. Some of my go-to snacks are carrots (which we cut up and bag ourselves), Larabars, applesauce pouches, nuts and seeds (which we buy in a large container and bag), dried fruit, and grapes.
Then, whenever you leave the house, grab a few different snacks and toss them in your purse, backpack, or diaper bag. You’ll be ready with a snack when one of the kids, or you, gets hungry.
3. Buy one sweet treat each week.
I don’t believe in depriving myself of everything. However, I also know if I have the treats in the house, I will not be able to avoid eating them. So I generally only buy one sweet thing a week.
It might be a package of cookies or a pint of ice cream. Whatever it is, it’s the one sugary treat in the house that everyone shares. It ensures that no one eats can eat too much of it, yet everyone still gets a little bit.
4. Meal plan!
This one does require a little time but is tremendously helpful. If you can meal plan everything for your week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ll save time, money and create healthier habits.
You can plan out the meals for the week and do all the prep work on the weekend. Cut up vegetables, make large batches of soups, casseroles, or pastas. Then, each night you don’t have to figure out what you’re eating. Not only that, but some of it you don’t even have to make! No more excuses to stop at the drive-thru because you’re too tired or don’t know what to make.
5. Shop with a list.
Always shop with a list! On your list put everything you need for your meal plans. Then, add in your list of items for your on-the-go snacks for number 2. I actually also have a list of meals and snacks that we get frequently on our refrigerator that I can reference if I ever get to feeling like we’re repeating things too much. That way I can make sure I mix it up a little.
Once you have that on your list, decide what sweet treat you’ll get that week and write it down. Then think through any other snacks for the house you might want to get, keeping in mind you already used your one sweet!
If salty foods like chips are more your kryptonite, maybe add a rule that you only get one of those each week as well so you can’t possibly over-indulge.
Do not allow yourself to buy anything not on the list. This will limit impulse buys and you’ll wind up with a lot less junk in the house to derail you from your goal.
It’s really difficult to completely overhaul your life to be healthier. So don’t start there! Start with small, healthier, manageable changes you can implement to create healthier eating habits. Once those become routine, you can start to add in more. The idea is to find a realistic starting point to begin at. So take this list and start on your healthy new journey.