Sticking to healthy cooking and eating habits is simpler and easier than you may think. And with a little planning, a nutritious diet doesn’t need to be expensive.
Ziploc® Brand products can help you practice portion control and also make preparing nutritious foods just as convenient as less-healthy alternatives. These 10 tips will help you get started:
1. Make your own healthy snacks.
Use Ziploc® Brand Snack Bags
to make your own pre-portioned snacks that are easy to grab and stash in your bag. Try a handful of baby carrots, a few whole-grain crackers, or a bunch of grapes, all of which pack a nutritional punch. When hunger strikes, having healthy snacks on hand will save both money and calories, because you’ll be less tempted by fast food or vending machines. (See sidebar for great 100-calorie snack ideas.)
2. Keep your freezer stocked.
Start with healthy fruits and veggies. "Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones," says Sari Greaves, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Best of all, you can take what you need, and reseal the packet so you keep your portions sensible and minimize waste." Sensible portions can be prepackaged into individual Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags
before freezing so you can take out just what you need. And single servings of fruit can be frozen for a healthy snack anytime, even out of season
. For instance, blueberries are full of antioxidants and add delicious flavor to plain yogurt.
3. Make fruit and veggies an easy snack.
Before the start of each week, wash and cut up fruits and vegetables into snack-size pieces, and keep them readily accessible in a small or extra-small Ziploc® Brand Container with the Smart Snap® Seal
. If they're handy and ready to eat, you'll be more likely to reach for these healthy alternatives than for chips or candy.
4. Eat Frequently.
Healthy eaters often practice an easy trick: eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day. According to Greaves, "Getting a few healthy snacks into your day will prevent you from getting ravenous and eating more than you should." Studies also have shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast are more successful at controlling their total calorie intake.
5. Plan Ahead.
Stock your freezer with healthy meals, and you’ll be less tempted to order unhealthy take-out or eat in a restaurant. Buying in bulk saves time and money—you can freeze leftovers for easy plan-ahead meals. The Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Freezer System
removes air for freezer-burn protection of lean proteins like turkey and chicken breasts.
6. Practice portion control.
"I use an ice-cream scoop, which is about half a cup, to portion out turkey burgers or bran muffins," says Greaves. Keep your measuring cups on hand to measure out your servings—you might be surprised at what you think
a serving of cereal is, compared to what it actually is. Check out Picturing Perfect Portions
for more suggestions.
7. Use healthy cooking methods.
Steam cooking vegetables and other food is a great way to cook without adding fat. What's more, steaming food rather than boiling helps retain nutrients. It couldn't be easier than it is with Ziploc® Brand Zip’n Steam® Microwave Cooking Bags
, which offer the taste and nutritional benefits of steam cooking with the convenience of your microwave. You can also prepare healthy sautéed and stir-fried meals with very little oil by using nonstick or cast-iron skillets, says Greaves.
8. Go meatless.
Try incorporating beans, nuts, eggs and tofu into your main courses for a low-fat protein fix that is often as good for you as or better than meat. Plus meatless proteins are often less expensive. Alternately, buy smaller portions of meat and stretch them out over multiple dishes that feature whole grains and vegetables.
9. Use chopsticks.
Even when you're not having Chinese take-out, using chopsticks when eating will automatically cause you to eat less, because it forces you to pace yourself. "Take small bites and chew thoroughly," advises Greaves, "as it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that you're full."
10. Forget family-style.
Plate your family's meals in the kitchen rather than bring them to the table in large platters and bowls. Doing this will prevent everyone from automatically taking seconds or overeating.