How to Eat Healthy When You're Home All The Time
Sometimes, food can be a real comfort. And with the pandemic, we're all finding new ways to work, socialize, and relax—all inside our homes. These are big changes, which have made healthy eating harder to do—and grabbing takeout foods a whole lot easier. Try some of these tips to help you keep the focus on eating healthy when you're home all the time.
- Plan meals ahead of time.
Planning your meals takes the guesswork out of "what's for dinner?" And that can help you eat healthy. Here are some ideas to try.
- Try theme nights. Love breakfast at any time of the day? Plan a "Breakfast for Dinner" night. "Meatless Monday" is a popular way to have a vegetarian meal each week. And save "Leftovers Night" for days when you don't want to cook. Let your favorite dishes guide you, and then recycle them every few weeks. You can be as creative or as traditional as you want.
- Aim for quick meals on busy nights. Try recipes that are simple to make and easy to clean up, like pasta, soups, or casseroles. These dishes can often be made ahead of time. Then you can reheat them when you're short on time.
- Order takeout. There are some days when a home-cooked meal just isn't going to happen. And that's okay. Give yourself a break. Choose your busiest day, and plan to order takeout that day.
- Cook with a friend. Maybe you know someone who's feeling the same way about healthy eating. Pick a recipe, and schedule a night to make it. You can video call while you cook, or just call while you eat—or both. Either way, you can enjoy the meal you made "together."
- Buy foods that last.
Choose fresh foods, including onions, garlic, and potatoes. And don't rule out frozen, canned, and dried foods. Foods like these—that last—can help you pull a healthy meal together quickly. Try livening up frozen vegetables with dried herbs and spices. Rice can be a simple base for any meat, egg, bean, or vegetable dish. Add dried fruit to oatmeal while it simmers on the stove.
- Surround yourself with foods you want to eat.
It can be easier to eat healthy foods when you have them on hand. Try stocking healthy ingredients and snacks.
- Cook something new.
The same recipes can get old. Try some of these tips to help you find inspiration.
- Check out cookbooks from the library. It's a great way to try a variety of recipes and cuisines without crowding your bookshelf. When you need another dose of inspiration, head back for another book.
- Search for new recipes online. There are many websites, blogs, and other free sources for lots of recipes. Do some research, try some recipes, and find your favorites.
- Be adventurous with old favorites. You don't always need new recipes to find inspiration. Try taking an old favorite recipe and changing the ingredients. What do you have on hand that could work? Maybe swap out the chicken for a can of black beans. Or give a dish a whole new flavor by changing an herb or spice.
- Share food with other people.
If you like cooking and baking, you don't have to stop. Divvy up what you've made, and keep only what you want to eat. You can wrap up the rest to share with a friend, neighbor, or family member.
- Aim for balance, variety, and moderation.
These are strange times. And it's okay to crave comfort foods right now. All foods, if you eat them in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. On most days, eat from each food group—grains, protein foods, vegetables and fruits, and dairy. And choose different foods from each food group. For example, if you often choose apples, try reaching for a banana instead.
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
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