When we’re in a rush, it’s so easy to pick up fast food or take out. While convenient, these meals are often much higher in calories from fat and sugar than their homemade counterparts.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying you need to give up your favorite restaurants. By deeming take out as "forbidden," it’s only going to seem that much more appealing. It’s not about forcing yourself to stop eating out, it’s about making it more convenient and enjoyable to cook at home instead.
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to be able to whip up a nutritious meal at home. Here are three simple ways you can use your fridge to help you eat heathier:
1. Keep healthy foods in plain sight.
Out of sight, out of mind. If you’re storing fresh veggies and other ingredients in the produce drawer, it seems like they’re not there and you'll forget all about them.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your groceries, store healthy foods in clear containers and keep them at eye level. Sealable glass containers or mason jars are great options for this. That way, when you open the fridge for ideas, you’ll be staring at just the healthy stuff. Stick the cheese in the drawers!
2. Stock your fridge with quick, healthy options.
Having carrots, celery, peppers, and/or your favorite vegetables cut into snack-sized pieces can be a great way to prevent you from reaching for the chips and other unhealthy snacks.
Hate making salads from scratch? On Sunday night, chop and wash some greens like romaine, kale or spinach and store them in the fridge where they’re easy to grab like the bottom shelf. Doing this prep before a busy week starts can provide you with three quick, easy and nutritious dinner options: veggie omelets, stir fries or a hearty salad (with my favorite homemade dressing, below).
3. Cook once, eat twice.
Save yourself some time and cook an extra portion or two of whatever you’re making. It doesn’t have to be the entire meal, but if you’re cooking quinoa or brown rice as a side, for example, add in an extra cup and store what’s left over in the fridge for another meal. The trick here, especially if you’re prone to overeating, is to store the extras in a container right away so you’re not tempted to eat the extra portions.
Remember, with anything you do to improve your health: Be gentle on yourself! You don’t need to overhaul your life in one go. Take small steps forward, starting with one extra home cooked meal per week and increase that number as you go.
Homemade salad dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients together and drizzle on your salads. Store remaining dressing in the fridge in an airtight container.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock