How to Make Eating Healthier a Reality

Eating healthier means adopting some strategies.. Paula Danielse/Moment/Getty Images

Every year, millions of people make resolutions to eat healthier. A lofty idea? It’s certainly one that can be a reality, if you have a strategy. Here are some simple routines that will help you make your resolution to eat healthier a reality—and something you can count on for days and months to come.

1. Plan your weekly menu. Plan out those day-to-day meals, and have a back up meal or two on hand, should your meal plans get foiled.

While breakfast and lunch are fairly easy to plan, dinner, if not planned, can be the source of great frustration. Make sure to have several snack ideas and ingredients stocked up, also.

2. Routinely shop for food. Whether it's a weekly visit to your grocery store or an online order, make it part of your weekly schedule to shop with a list of food items needed to execute your weekly menu. If you can, choose a regular day of the week to shop.

3. Stick to your menu. As tempting as it may be to change up your menu, or “borrow” ingredients from one meal during the week for another, this can disrupt your overall weekly meal plan and leave you with missing ingredients later on in the week. It’s not boring to stay the course with your meal plan—it’s a strategy—and likely to keep things in the kitchen humming along all week and healthy eating a priority.

4. Make real food sweets. If you have the time, opt to make homemade sweets.

On the weekends, in the evenings (if you’re not too tired!), or during the day are great times to “stock” up on homemade sweets. One of my strategies is to make cookies or brownies and wrap them in individual bags or plastic wrap and place them in a larger freezer bag and freeze them. Then I just pull out one serving at a time for packing lunches or a treat.

Great portion control! Try these allergy-friendly homemade sweets:

Chocolate chip cookies

Peach Upside Down Cake

Pumpkin Pie

5. Look for healthy versions of convenience food items. Because you have a food allergy, or are caring for someone with a food allergy, you likely know your way around the ingredient label, spotting allergens. Use these same ingredient labels and the Nutrition Facts Panel to determine the health quality of convenience items. Look for products that are lower in sugar, fat, and include real food items, like barley or apples, early on in the ingredient list.

6. Make some meals ahead of time. Use your free time to your advantage. Whether it be the weekends or during the day when you’re at home, double-batch your recipes and make twice as much, freezing some for another meal on another day. Here are two articles that will help you along the way:

How to make ahead and freeze ahead 

How to cook wheat-free grains

7. Choose a fruit or vegetable with every meal. To instantly enhance the health quality of any meal, add a piece of fruit or some veggies.

You’ll be adding vitamins, minerals and fiber, which improves the nutritional quality for anyone. Remember, most people need 5 cups of a combination of fruits and vegetables each day to meet their daily intake levels for health.

8. Make smart snacking choices. Cookies, chips or candy for a snack? If that’s what you’re choosing for snacks, your New Year’s promise will fail quickly. Instead, choose healthy snacks, some of which I outline in this article, and in this one.

9. Ditch the sneaky calories from beverages. Drinks like juice, sports drinks, soda, coffee drinks, and even healthy drinks like smoothies can pack some significant calories—calories that you should pay attention to. But, drinks are sneaky and many folks don’t count the calories that come from them. You have two options: count them as part of your daily intake, or ditch the calories from beverages and stick with water or other calorie-free beverages.

10. Exercise! Yes, exercising can bring more awareness to what you eat. It’s commonly known that individuals who exercise routinely tend to eat healthier, but not always. For some, exercise is an excuse to eat poorly. If you’re on to a healthy New Year, why ruin a good workout with dessert?

Which of these 10 tips will you adopt this year?

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