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NUTRITION – How to Make Healthy Homemade Meals in a Snap

By Tracy Owns

In the past few years there has been a huge shift in eating habits with so many people expressing an interest in making healthier, homemade meals made from wholesome, locally-grown, organic ingredients. Often times, however, these healthy and homemade meals never get made.

There are several reasons why what you envision on your plate is not what actually ends up on your plate. Confusion, indecision on what to make, not knowing how to make it, not having the proper ingredients on hand, not having the time to make it or most likely some combination of the above. So, instead of eating a great meal you end up skipping meals, buying take-out, or heating up left overs. If you fall into this category then guess what… it’s rinse and repeat at your next meal.

But have no fear; making healthy, wholesome, nutritious meals at home can be simpler than you think. Once you learn the basics, you can achieve your goals of preparing healthy homemade meals, with the added bonus of saving time and money.      

The first step is to plan exactly what you are going to eat.  While this may sound incredibly simplistic, this is the rock-solid foundation for making healthy nutritious meals. Whipping up meal ideas on the go, day in and day out, is a recipe for failure. So start by having a 15-minute brainstorming session with yourself and create a list of 5 breakfast ideas, 5 lunch ideas, 5 dinner ideas, and 5 snack ideas. Initially, keep your meal ideas very simple so you don’t start out feeling overwhelmed. For example, two breakfast ideas may include oatmeal with walnuts and boiled eggs, or Greek yogurt parfait with almonds, oats, berries and chia seeds. Two lunch ideas may be a wrap with avocado along with a piece of fruit, or a protein-topped spinach salad with Greek yogurt.

Each of these meals are simple, straightforward and no recipe is needed.

Once you have your list of meal ideas, make a list of what to buy at the store or farmer’s market. When you have the right ingredients in your kitchen, assembling the meals becomes as easy as pie. (Hopefully pie isn’t on the list!)

Skipping meals is no longer necessary when you have everything you need at your fingertips. Imagine how much time you will save not driving for takeout and waiting in line. And while meal delivery services can be handy and a nice alternative, they are more expensive than if you bought your own ingredients and made your own meals. With these simple steps, you can deliver your very own healthy homemade dinners, and can achieve your goals of eating healthier foods.

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Tracy Owens, MPH, RD, LDN, CSSD, is owner of Triangle Nutrition Therapy Inc. and specializes in sports nutrition.  She is Board Certified Sports Dietitian (CSSD) through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She teaches competitive athletes ways to fuel and hydrate to optimize sports performance and maximize health.