If only eating healthy according to your healthcare provider’s standards was as easy as she made it sound. Unfortunately, many will say there is just not enough time in the day to eat well. Fast food tastes great, can be addictive and is easy when other priorities keep us from making time for better meals.
Sundays make great days for meal prepping. For example, you could make 14 breakfast burritos all at once and freeze them. One person could have a filling and quick breakfast out of the microwave for two weeks, or a couple could have a quick breakfast every day for a week.
However, many spend weekends away from home, attending events or relaxing and dread the idea of spending hours in the kitchen with a hot oven, cooking the same meal over and over. While it makes the following far more convenient, there’s no arguing the process is time consuming and can quickly get overwhelming without help.
We strongly urge you to give meal prepping ahead of the week a try, but if you’re not ready to take the dive just yet, that’s OK. We have some great tips to help you tackle every meal in the meantime.
1. Choose natural foods.
“Natural” has become a bit of an ambiguous term, but when we say natural, we mean as it appears in nature. For example, go for an apple over applesauce, grilled chicken breast over chicken nuggets or a baked potato with skin instead of French fries.
2. Eat regularly.
Our bodies like routines, and through repetition, healthy habits can be easy to develop and sustain. Starting healthy habits and following through is the hard part. They say it takes 21 days for a healthy habit to stick, so if you’re someone who tends to put eating on the back burner in favor of work or other activities, consider setting a schedule and planning healthy food and snacks around that schedule. If you know you’ll be on the road when you’ll be hungry, pack a quick snack like an apple, or eat something with a lot of fiber or protein before you head out. This will help satisfy your appetite and keep you from feeling the need to stop by the drive-thru.
3. Chew gum.
Research shows chewing gum can reduce your desire for food. Often, when we’re bored, food becomes an easy way to activate endorphins and accumulate pleasure. Chewing gum can help activate the same sensations without adding calories.
4. Drink more water.
Are you hydrating yourself? Many Southeast Missourians struggle to make sure they’re drinking. Any nonalcoholic liquid will do, but you’ll find your body and skin are much more satisfied with regular water. There are zero calories, and you can usually find an affordable source. Aim to drink a full glass every couple hours. Sometimes when we believe we’re hungry, our bodies are severely thirsty instead. If you’re still hungry fifteen minutes after drinking a full glass, feel free to eat your meal.
5. Go small and eat slowly.
With so much going on, it’s tempting to rush through food and get back to our regularly scheduled events. However, eating quickly can lead to overindulging and stomach pain. Instead of packing your plate full, keep it small. Space bites out with plenty of drinks. Wait fifteen minutes after eating your small plate before going back for more
If you’d like more in-depth education on satisfying your hunger, check out this interactive guide from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.