Picture this: it’s 5:00 pm, you just walk through the door and you’re starving. You scan the fridge for a quick and easy snack but come up empty. You had every intention of eating something healthy, but instead, you grab the cinnamon roll conveniently staring back at you. Cinnamon rolls are delicious, but your body needs something more nutritious, and you know it. So, how can you make it easier for yourself the next time you’re feeling hungry and exhausted? Here are 4 strategies to make healthier food choices (that actually work!)
1. Create Zones
The first step in setting yourself up for success in the kitchen is to designate different zones based on how they’re used, and then organize them accordingly. For instance, you may have a separate area for food prep, chopping, and cleaning. Creating specific zones will minimize clutter and streamline the entire cooking process.
The key is to group like-items together, and near the areas you typically use them. For example, keep oils and spices together near the stove or wherever you food prep. The same thing can be said for cutting boards and knives. Even if you have to take a few extra minutes to prepare a healthy meal, everything that you need will be all in one place.
2. Utilize Your Freezer
Keeping a well-organized freezer is a great way to make healthier food choices. It’s especially important if you plan on freezing leftovers (which is highly recommended!) Freezing healthy and nutritious choices in air-tight containers will come in handy on those extra chaotic and exhausting days.
Stock your freezer with ingredients you tend to use often. This will be extra helpful if you’re busy or between grocery runs. Proteins and vegetables are simple to freeze and can be mixed into all sorts of meals. Having these staples on-hand is super convenient, which means you’ll be less likely to bust out those old takeout menus.
3. Keep Snacks Visible
A kitchen packed with healthy food isn’t exactly useful if you have to spend 10 minutes searching for that one protein bar. Whether you’re scouring the fridge or pantry, it’s important to keep in mind how you store your food. After all, you’re much more likely to reach for the first thing you can grab, especially when you’re starving.
Place your healthy snacks up front and at eye level. Make your nutritious options easily accessible, and move processed junk food out of sight. This will be especially useful when you’re looking for something quick and easy to eat on the run. Put protein-packed munchies, like nut butter, seeds, and nuts, within arm’s reach so you don’t have to search for them. Having these healthy foods front and center will take the guesswork out of snacking.
4. Decant Your Food
Another key strategy is decanting your food. While putting fresh and shelf-stable foods into new, clear containers has become popular on social media, they serve a smarter purpose. These pretty eye-pleasing containers keep your food fresher for longer, provide visibility, and make them easier to access.
Take 10 minutes after grocery shopping to chop produce, like watermelon and cantaloupe, and put them in air-tight containers at the front of the fridge. You’re far more likely to snack on some healthy fruit when you’ve already done the hard part of chopping them up. Decanting dry goods makes it easier to spot healthy ingredients, like whole grain rice and quinoa. It also prevents unnecessary food waste and will help save you money in the process. Your food is less likely to expire. Not to mention, you’ll be able to see when you’re starting to run low and add items to your next grocery list.
Click here to learn about common food storage mistakes!