Wash and prep fruits and vegetables right away

Wash and prep fruits and vegetables right away

If your goal is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, try washing and preparing them as soon as you get home from the farmer’s market or grocery store.

If you open your refrigerator to find a freshly prepared fruit salad or carrot and celery sticks ready for snacking, you’re more likely to reach for those items when you’re hungry.

Anticipating your hunger and setting yourself up with healthy and convenient choices makes it easier to avoid reaching for the bag of potato chips or cookies just because they’re quick and easy.

20. Prep smart, not hard
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the need to cut corners.

If you’re not great at chopping vegetables or don’t have time to batch cook and pre-portion your meals, there are likely some healthy, prepared options at your local grocery store.

Pre-cut fruits and vegetables or prepared meals are usually more expensive, but if the convenience factor is what it takes to reduce stress in your life or get you to eat more vegetables, it may be well worth it.

Remember, not everyone’s meal planning and preparation processes look the same. Having the wisdom to know when you need to scale back and improve efficiency can help you stick to your goals long term.

21. Use your slow or pressure cooker
Slow and pressure cookers can be lifesavers for meal prep, especially if you don’t have time to stand over a stove.

These tools allow for more freedom and hands-off cooking, so you can meal prep while simultaneously finishing other chores or running errands.

22. Vary your menu
It’s easy to get stuck in a dieting rut and eat the same foods day after day.

At best, your meals can quickly become boring and lead to a loss of culinary inspiration. At worst, the lack of variation could contribute to nutrient deficiencies (4Trusted Source).

To avoid this, make it a point to try cooking new foods or meals at regular intervals.

If you always choose brown rice, try swapping it for quinoa or barley. If you always eat broccoli, substitute cauliflower, asparagus, or romanesco for a change.

You can also consider letting the seasons change your menu for you. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season helps you vary your diet and save money at the same time.

23. Make it enjoyable
You’re more likely to stick to your new meal planning habit if it’s something you enjoy doing. Instead of thinking of it as something you have to do, try to mentally reframe it as a form of self-care.

If you’re the household chef, consider making meal prep a family affair. Have your family help you chop vegetables or batch cook some soup for the week ahead, so these activities become quality time spent together instead of just another chore.

If you prefer to meal prep solo, throw on your favorite music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you do it. Before long, it may be something you look forward to.

The bottom line
Meal planning and preparation is a great way to make healthier food choices and save time and money.

Though it may seem overwhelming at first, there are a variety of strategies you can employ to develop a sustainable meal planning habit that works for your unique lifestyle.

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