March is National Nutrition Month, which means that it’s probably a good time to start implementing all of the healthy diet things you've been promising you would do. To help you eat better, try the following simple steps.
How to eat better at home:
Remember the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” It may well work for food. You may be less likely to eat something if you don’t see it. And vice versa. So make healthy foods convenient to consume. Here’s how:
- Keep foods like fruits and vegetables in easy reach. Don’t bury them in a refrigerator drawer. Place perishable produce on a center shelf, where it can be easily seen and picked up. Try a new fruit or vegetable
- Dress it up. For healthy foods you can leave out on the counter, place them in an attractive bowl. They will be more tempting to eat.
- Fix healthy snacks to sustain your energy level between meals.Try a tablespoon of nut butters with apple slices; baby carrots and hummus
- Store food only in the kitchen. One study found people who stored more food throughout their homes, such as in an extra refrigerator, were more likely to be overweight or obese.
At the store
When you go grocery shopping, it’s the best time to bring healthy foods into your home within your food budget. Perhaps your most handy tool: A shopping list. Try these grocery shopping tips:
- Map out your meals for the week. Deciding what you want to eat in advance can help you create a more concise list. To “Create a Grocery Game Plan” visit www.My Plate.gov
- Use what you already have at home. Check your refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets for ingredients. You’ll save money and time.
- Try some new healthy recipes. Schedule easier meals for busy days. Reserve ones that take longer for days when you’ll have more time to cook.
- Decide how much to make or buy- doubling a recipe and freezing left overs for later in the week can save you time and money. Buying ingredients in bulk is often cheaper
- Eat a healthy snack before shopping. It may help you stick to the list. Plus, it may prompt you to buy a greater amount of healthier fare. Consider this finding: In one study, people who snacked on an apple instead of a cookie before shopping bought more fruits and vegetables overall.
Ways to eat better at a restaurant
It can be a challenge to eat healthy when dining out. Restaurants may not always list nutritional information on their menus. Try these strategies:
- Scan the menu for healthier items. Some restaurants will mark which foods are low-fat or low-calorie. Generally, those that are grilled or steamed are better for you.
- Watch your portion size. Many eateries serve up big portions. To cut back on how much you eat, share an entrée with a friend or eat half and take home the rest for later.
- Eat slowly. Your body will have more time to digest the food. You will feel full sooner and eat less overall.
- Stay away from super-sized beverages. The sugar in soft drinks can add hundreds of unneeded calories to your meal.
Liz Cabrera RD, LDN, CSO, CNSC is a registered, licensed nutritionist who is a board-certified specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO). She has over 20 years of experience working in oncology nutrition providing care to Touro’s cancer patients throughout their cancer journey- from diagnosis to survivorship. Liz works closely with physicians and other members of the healthcare team to provide individualized nutrition care.
Little something extra: I strongly believe in patient-centered care -understanding a cancer diagnosis from the patient’s perspective and respecting their values and expectations.