The Skinny on Healthy Eating

Last time, we talked about the costs associated with eating healthy and now it's time to talk about how to eat healthier without letting food go bad, slaving in the kitchen all day, or leaving your family wondering where the flavor went. Seem like a tall order? It just takes a little know-how and planning.

Eating healthier begins with making sure you are getting food that isn't going to end up wasted or thrown out. If you are the type of person that is always on the go, think yogurt cups instead of large cartons. If you tend to let fresh green beans go bad in the back of the refrigerator, consider opting for frozen ones that you can add to a dish at a moment's notice. Get what you'll use. If you've grown accustomed to nibbling on ice cream sandwiches, consider a smallish change like frozen fruit or yogurt pops. If you want to eat healthier, that's great … but make sure you actually get food you'll eat, even if that means taking baby steps toward your goal.

If you have about a half hour to put dinner on the table, skip fussy recipes and opt for things that are quick or don't require a lot of hands-on time to prepare. I love recipes that use my slow cooker, rice cooker, and other kitchen helpers because I can get meals that have that wonderful, slow-simmered flavor without having me in the kitchen. I also love using my bread machine to make bread (of course) and pizza dough. I get to choose what goes into what I eat and the machine takes care of the rest! Also, when you do have extra time, prepare ahead. When I'm chopping a half an onion for a dish, I often chop all of it and save the rest for another dish that will use onions another day. Suddenly, it seems like there are a lot more dinner options before me!

Finally, eating healthy isn't going to be a habit if your family doesn't feel like the food they are eating is good. Fat and salt taste great, but aren't necessarily the healthiest choices -- though some of each in moderation is good practice. Try replacing some of those things with great spice blends, great items like garlic or ginger, salsa or hot sauce, and even a bit of homemade broth or wine. I like to look at recipes and find places where I can increase flavor without negatively impacting the health value of what I'm making for my family. With practice, you'll find it's easy to find those places and you might even find tweaks you prefer and seek out!

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