Four ways to keep putting your best food forward

This year’s nutrition month theme is Best Food Forward: plan, shop, cook, enjoy!

This year’s nutrition month theme is Best Food Forward: plan, shop, cook, enjoy!

We all know we should be eating less processed food. While most of us like the idea of eating home-cooked meals, sometimes actually cooking them seems like a lot of work.

Here are some tips to help you out:

Plan

One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating is lack of time.

Getting home at 5:30 with a car full of whining, hungry kids and your own dropping sanity is not a moment for, “just wait 45 minutes, while I put on some brown rice and chop some vegetables for a stir-fry…” only to realize that you don’t have any vegetables and forgot to take the meat out of the freezer.

Taking a few minutes to organize a weekly meal plan will take away a lot of the stress of supper time. On especially busy days, it is okay to plan for fast food, as long as you are having healthy meals the majority of the time.

If eating more vegetables is a goal, washing and chopping vegetables on the weekends when you have time will make them ready to grab during the week.

Shop

You have the choice of what foods you want to bring into your home – leave unhealthy foods at the grocery store!

This is hard to do especially if you are hungry when you are grocery shopping or do not bring a list of food to buy. Another good strategy is to stick to the perimeter of the store, and avoid going down the aisles carrying chips, cookies or other tempting foods.

Cook

Cooking is a life skill that is not being passed on to our children. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to have a healthy diet without cooking skills. Research shows that involving children in food preparation improves their acceptance and intake of food. Cooking does not have to mean fancy or time-consuming. It can mean scrambled eggs and toast (five minutes, one pan).

Enjoy!

Eating should be an enjoyable process. Planning ahead reduces the stress and frenzy around meal times.

Keeping your cupboards stocked with healthy food will ensure better decision making when you are feeling stressed or vulnerable. Involving your kids in the cooking process will increase the likelihood that they will eat the food you make.

These steps can help you enjoy meals as they should be: a time to share food with people you love!

-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.