Fresh and clean

Healthy eating for busy people

By Rima Butto

Somehow, meal planning in our hectic lifestyles has turned into an unstated competition of “what can get me fullest the fastest, with the least amount of effort,” and unfortunately, healthy food often comes in last. “People have a misconception of how easy or how quick [healthy eating] can be,” said nutritionist Mary Petras. We consulted some area experts for their tips on clean eating for busy people.

Simple is better. When grocery shopping, choosing foods with fewer ingredients is going to be your best bet. Avoid overcomplicating; eating raw is actually the easiest and most nutrient-dense way to eat healthily. Also take advantage of grocery stores with knowledgeable staffs, as well as farmers markets and co-ops.

Go green. It might not seem significant, but throwing together a quick salad of chopped fruits and vegetables, while also being simple and easy, makes a big difference nutrition-wise, and can provide the variety your diet may be missing.

Plan ahead. Clear out your Sunday afternoon to plan and prepare your meals at least four to five days in advance. This will ensure that you’re getting what you need health-wise and will allow you to avoid settling for unhealthy substitutes later –  eliminate excuses for last minute fast food runs.

Find a friend. It’s easy to underestimate the effect of the people around you – isn’t a burger twice as appetizing when someone else is eating one? As with anything that involves changing a habit, creating and maintain a healthy lifestyle is much easier to do with a support system surrounding you.

Go pro. Lots of nutritional coaches won’t mind a quick phone call just to steer you in the right direction. But if you’re really struggling, working individually with a health coach who teaches you how to meal plan, takes you shopping, and regularly checks in may be worth the investment.

Experts: Mary Petras, Concierge Nutritionist at Beyond Basics Health Coaching, 419.407.6587 beyondbasicshc.com; Scott Bowman, Owner of Fowl and Fodder, 419.690.2490, fowlandfoddor.com; Morgan Blake, Marketing Manager at Phoenix Earth Food Co-Op 419.476.3211 phoenixearthfoodco-op.com.

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