The short answer is healthy food isn't always the most convenient. There is going to be some prep involved. As I talked about in a previous blog post, a perfect food is healthy, cheap, and convenient. Typically we can check the box for 2 of those things, but all 3 is a rarity. Here are some practical tips on how to eat more of the healthy food we buy.
1. Get yourself some good containers.
Good means airtight lids that won't leak, microwavable, and dishwasher safe. You may have some additional needs to add to that list, but those are 3 qualities that will make actually using the containers more likely. Get some cool colors or designs, whatever will make you use it, and get a variety of sizes that will fit in a lunch box. By the way, if you find a food container and think it's cool, you have officially become your parents.
2. Schedule time to prep the food (and prep more than you might need)
The best time is right after you bring it home from the store, especially when we’re talking about produce. Don’t even give yourself a chance to forget about it. Wash and cut everything up, put it in your sweet new containers, and enjoy whenever you like. The second part is easier. Making tacos? Throw in 2 pounds of beef instead of 1. Boom! Tomorrow’s lunch is served. You’re already cooking so why not?
3. Pre-portion your meals
This is why good containers, in a variety of sizes are important. Portion out tomorrow’s lunch or dinner before they go in the fridge. Tomorrow, all you have to do is grab and go.
4. Cut corners
When all else fails, get the steam bags of vegetables (although, this is hardly cutting corners) or buy already prepared foods. Grab the pre cut cantaloupe or the broccoli from the salad bar. It’s certainly more expensive, but that doesn’t mean the entire grocery list has to be pre-prepared. Start with the most time consuming things. If it’s going to improve your health, it’s a small price to pay, especially when some of that unprepared food will go bad and get thrown out anyway.
At the end of the day, we all like easy. No amount of discipline will ever make vegetables taste better than french fries. All we're doing is making it a little less difficult to make better decisions.