Start with a Meal

How do I sort through all of the choices at the grocery store? How can I get dinner on the table quickly every night? What if I don’t have time to cook?

We all find ourselves in the moment, unprepared, and faced with food choices that are less healthy, not so tasty, or both. Choosing wellness in everyday moments means that you do the best you can with what you have, and don’t dwell on what you wish you had done differently. As my sister says, if you’re going to beat yourself up, do it with a wet noodle!

If you don’t have a plan for dinner tonight, just remember a few basic tips for eating well.

  1. Eat what you like. Crazy as it sounds, it’s OK to enjoy your food!
  2. Balance the familiar with the new. It’s also OK to try new things, “nudge” the taste buds in a healthier direction if that’s what they need. If your dinners have consisted of burgers and fries, try making a burger at home with 95% lean ground beef. Try a whole grain bun. Add lettuce and tomato. Or switch to sweet potato fries.
  3. Diversify your food-folio. OK, a little corny, but just like you diversify your income and investments, diversify your nutrition. Get at least 3 food groups into a meal, including a protein-rich food, a vegetable, and a grain (more on foods groups in a post coming soon). Also, diversify the foods you choose in each group. Pasta is great, but also try rice, bulgur, and quinoa. Yay for broccoli, as well as asparagus, kale, green beans, and jicama! So many veggies, so little time!
  4. Be realistic. If you’ve had “one of those” days, the kitchen is not stocked, you’re exhausted, the stove is broken, the cat’s up a tree, or some other daily catastrophe has arrived in your home, you may just need to eat out or take out. The same principles apply to a healthy plate. If the portions are monstrous, share. If it comes with fries, share them or replace them with a salad or soup. Lots of adjustments can be made to make better choices.
  5. Savor the moment. Remember what I said about wellness in everyday moments? Well, here it is. Whether you had the makings of an amazing meal ready to go in your kitchen, or you decided to do the drive-through quick fix, sit down with your family or a friend, or just beautiful you, give thanks, have a conversation, savor each bite, and be nourished.

Bon appetit!

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