Within Reach….

Macro shot of a box of clementines, Citrus ret...

Macro shot of a box of clementines, Citrus reticulata 'Clementine' . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables are good for us, but they often get thrown into the refrigerator drawer and forgotten about.  Often when we are hungry, we want a quick fix and cutting up fruit and veggies can be a pain.  The key is to make fruit and vegetables the easy choice.

Buying fruit that can be washed and put into a bowl on the counter is a great place to start.  Most kids love apples, bananas and clementines (you probably love them too when you think to eat one).  By having them on the counter they can help themselves.  The next time they say they are hungry or want a snack, direct them to the fruit bowl.  Eventually, they will do it on their own.

Another way to make eating fresh produce easy is to prepare it when you get home from the store.  In my house, I have to ration the melon.  I cut up the cantaloupe or watermelon and put them into single serving containers.  This makes it easy for the kids to grab but they don’t sit with the big container and eat it all in one sitting.  I do the same thing for grapes.

Next, is veggies.  Baby carrots are a staple in my home.  The boys take them from the fridge and eat many a day.  Cucumbers are another easy one to prepare ahead.  You can cut them in circles or into sticks and put them into containers.  I mix it up with the kids so it seems different. Celery is another one to prepare ahead.  Basically, it is all about making the fruits and veggies easy to grab finger foods.

Preparing single servings ahead of time is not only easier around the house, but makes it easy to pack them in lunches or for a snack on an outing.  Maybe take the family for a walk and enjoy some fresh produce in the middle of your adventure.  It will help refresh you and keep you going.

Enjoy the warmer weather and all that it gives us!!

Mind-full shopping….

Many people are talking about mind-full eating, the first step should be mind-full shopping.  Taking the time to create a list and sticking to it.  Pick a day that is easy to go shopping.  Maybe it’s when the kids are in school or on a day that isn’t too stressful at work.  If it is a difficult time you will rush and pick convenience over health.  Once you have chosen your shopping day, create a menu for the week.  Write down a meal for each day and figure out the ingredients.  Don’t forget to plan for breakfast and lunch.  Look at your menu, do you have fruit and vegetables with each meal?  What about snacks?  By planning ahead, you won’t grab the easy, unhealthy food and an added bonus – it will save you money!  This will make your day easier as well.  You won’t have to worry during the day about what you are going to make for dinner, you will know what you are eating and all the food will be in the house.

Some easy healthy options are buying trail mix (preferably in prepackaged snack packs while you learn the portions) that has both dried fruit and chocolate chips so you still get a sweet and salty treat.  I try to keep some fruit that doesn’t go bad quickly such as apples and cantaloupe.  Washing the apples and placing them in a bowl will make them easy to grab when you are hungry and hunting for a snack.  Don’t forget about frozen options too.  My kids love frozen mango!  Frozen veggies are easy to throw into any meal.  We use frozen veggies with quinoa.  Simply defrost 1-2 cups of frozen vegetables, cook the quinoa following the instructions on the package, after cooking stir in the vegetables and you have an easy, good for you side dish.

After being mind-full of our actions for the past week, by keeping a health journal we can take it a step further to being conscious of what we are buying.  Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice and a lot of work.  Remember small steps are the key to success!!