Jamie Staley, NASM-CPT, Pn1
“You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it.”― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
Do you find healthy eating to be a challenge? Do you struggle with not knowing what you should be eating, so you just grab what’s in front of you?
Changing your eating habits can be hard work. I know because I’ve done it and it takes time. So to give your eating habits a makeover, start small and start with your kitchen.
Making changes to your home is one of the very best ways to set yourself up for success. Start with one, or all five, of the tips below and make eating healthy automatic!
#1: Clean out your refrigerator
Let me be clear and say I hate cleaning out my fridge. However, once it’s done, I have so much space for new groceries and I can see everything so much better. Go through sauces, dressings, everything. Throw away anything that is expired or that you know you won’t eat.
Once this is done, you can make some organizational changes or designate specific areas for certain things. For example: after you meal prep for the week you can put all your prepared meals on the second shelf, right where you can see them.
#2: Make your lists and check them twice
Who doesn’t love a good list? I am a firm believer in pen and paper for most things, even with the ease of digital lists. So what types of lists around your kitchen are helpful?
- Fridge List. Once your fridge is cleaned out and restocked, make a complete list of everything that is inside and post it on the outside door.
- Menus: list everything out for the week by category. Breakfast options, prepared or available snacks, lunches, and dinners. Put this on the fridge as well. This is also a great option for kids that are old enough to get their own snacks or meals. And you won’t have to answer the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” from the members of your household.
- Pantry List. Keeping a list of what is in your pantry can save you time when making a new shopping list and menus for the week. Using what you already have on hand saves on food waste big time! Pantry staples like rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, canned veggies, soups, canned tuna, pesto, granola bars, etc. are inexpensive ways to add great nutrients to meals or snacks.
- Freezer list. Buying bulk freezer items can save money, but sometimes we forget what we have! Make a full list of all your freezer contents, throwing out expired food as you go.
#3: Put treats out of sight and out of reach
If you struggle with boredom eating or emotional eating, oftentimes what gets consumed are the items that are the easiest to grab. The cookie jar on the counter, the candy in the dish, the chips on top of the fridge, etc.
Use this to your advantage and put more barriers between you and the items you don’t want to be eating constantly. Examples: put them on high shelves, in a basement pantry, a hallway closet, etc. That way you can still have a treat when you want, but you are then making a conscious choice to eat that food.
To gain maximum advantage of this strategy, see next item.
#4: Prepare your fruits and veggies
Now that your chips, cookies, and other snacks are away in different locations, take the time to put fruits and veggies where you can see them and get to them easily. Wash and portion out any fruit and veggie you can!
- Wash and cut carrots and celery and place into glass jars with a little bit of water. They will stay fresh and can travel easily.
- Put apple or pear slices in plastic or silicon bags with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning. Easy to add to lunches or grab for a snack. (Add a bit of cinnamon for a really good flavor!)
- Leave bananas out on the counter for easy access.
#5: Invest in glass containers for meal prep
Glass containers are game-changing for meal prep for a few reasons! They do not have the chemicals of plastic, they don’t stain, can be put in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher, and they don’t hold on to smells.
Most importantly? You can see what’s in them!
Here are a few sets I found on Amazon and one from Sam’s Club!
- 6-pack, two sizes: $20.99
- 5-pack with two compartments: $28.99
- 9-pack, four sizes: $27.99
- 12-pack, three sizes: $33.99
Want more tips to tackle your biggest challenges with healthy eating?
If tackling your nutrition on your own feels too intimidating and confusing, I can help! I am a Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, one of the most reputable nutrition companies in the world.
I will coach you through individualized action steps to meet your goals and help you formulate a plan for change that fits your life, instead of trying to make your life fit a plan. I’ll give you the accountability, real information, and guidance to make lasting nutritional change.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat about your goals!