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Healthy Eating Habits Start with Healthy Shopping Habits

Healthy Eating Habits Start with Healthy Shopping Habits

The only thing that throws you off of your healthy eating game faster than going to the grocery without a list is going to the grocery without a list when you’re “hangry.” Suddenly the buy-two-get-one-free on Oreos looks a lot more appealing than a basket full of fresh produce. So how can you avoid the “hanger trap?” According to Amy White, Professional Organizer and creator of “Simply Amy—Learning the Luxury of Living with Less,” it’s all about planning ahead.

“By planning your menu for the week and buying only what you need you will discover more money in your pocket, less wasted food, and you’ll avoid the dreaded, ‘what’s for dinner?’ question,” she explains. “The entire process becomes much less stressful.”

So how does a professional shop smarter? Here are a few of Amy’s top tips:

· Pick a designated shopping day. We do the bulk of our shopping on Sunday, but one of us will usually go back on Wednesday to purchase the fresh meat or fish we need to get through the rest of the week.

· Check the family calendar. Set aside 30-45 minutes and look at the week ahead. Do the kids have dance lessons or sporting events in the evenings? Is there an evening you or your spouse will be working late? Those nights might call for something fast, easy, and maybe even portable. You should also check the school lunch calendar. No one wants to eat the same thing for both lunch and dinner.

· Check the pantry. And the fridge, and the freezer. Take stock of what you already have, (or what might be about to expire) and build a meal around those things first rather than starting from scratch.

· Get everyone involved. Assign every family member a day, give them a guideline and ask for suggestions. For example, give your children a day to choose what’s for dinner, but it must include a protein, a veggie, a fruit, and a starch. Explain what those items are, and over time your kids will begin to recognize what a balanced meal looks like and be able to recreate it on their own.

While it might sound a little labor intensive at first, remember that putting in more time on the planning end, and organizing your menu and list will actually save you time in the long run, creating more time for the things you enjoy.

“It takes 21 days to form a habit,” Amy says. “The biggest hurdle is just getting started.”

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