12 Simple Ideas to Help You Make Healthier Food Choices

12 Simple Ideas to Help You Make Healthier Food Choices

Remember the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” It may well work for food. You may be less likely to eat something if you don’t see it. And vice versa. So make healthy foods convenient to consume. Here’s how:

1. Keep foods like fruits and vegetables within easy reach. Instead of burying perishable produce inside a refrigerator drawer, place it on a center shelf, where it can be easily seen and picked up. You can apply the same idea to food items you store in cabinets.
2. Dress it up. For healthy foods you can leave out on the counter, place them in an attractive bowl. They will be more tempting to eat.
3. Cut it up. Sliced apples or baby carrots are easy to grab and snack on. Children especially like the smaller bites.
4. Store food only in the kitchen. One study found people who stored more food throughout their homes, such as in an extra refrigerator, were more likely to be overweight or obese.

When you go grocery shopping, it’s the best time to bring healthy food into your home. Perhaps your most handy tool: a shopping list. Research shows that people who use one tend to eat better and weigh less. Try these grocery shopping tips:
5. Map out your meals for the week. Deciding what you want to eat in advance can help you create a more concise list.
6. Use what you already have at home. Check your refrigerator, freezer and cabinets for ingredients. You’ll save money and time and use up ingredients before they expire.
7. Try some new healthy recipes. Schedule easier meals for busy days. Reserve ones that take longer for days when you’ll have more time to cook.
8. Eat a healthy snack before shopping. It may help you stick to your list. It may also prompt you to buy a greater amount of healthier fare. Consider this finding: In one study, people who snacked on an apple instead of a cookie before shopping bought more fruits and vegetables overall.

It can be a challenge to eat in a healthy way when dining out. Restaurants may not always list calorie counts and other nutritional information on their menus. Try these strategies:
9. Scan the menu for healthier items. Some restaurants will mark which foods are low-fat or low-calorie. Generally, those that are grilled or steamed are better for you.
10.Watch your portion size. Many eateries serve up big portions. To cut back on how much you eat, share an entrée with a friend. Or eat half and take home the rest for later. Check out this convenient, visual guide to portion control which uses your hand to estimate portions.
11. Ask to substitute a salad or a side of vegetables for bread, potatoes, rice or pasta. You’ll get more nutrients, fewer calories and still enjoy the visual pleasure of a full plate.
12.Eat slowly and participate in conversation. Your body will have more time to digest the food. You will feel full sooner, eat less overall and enjoy a good talk with your table mates.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office