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Enjoy Eating Right
By Claire Marshall, MS, RD, LDN

Claire Marshall, MS, RD, LDNEating right doesn't have to be costly, inconvenient, or dull. All you need is a plan:

Buy foods in bulk when possible and freeze or can what you won't use right away. Purchase produce that is in season for the greatest savings, or choose frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, if necessary. Take advantage of farmers markets and local suppliers that can offer a better price than food shipped across the country. It is almost always cheaper to make a meal at home than to dine out.

If you're hungry and all you have in the pantry are potato chips, it's not likely you'll make a trip to the store to get an apple. Make it easier to give your family better choices by keeping healthy staples available, like sliced fruit and cut-up vegetables. Keep cookies out of sight in a cupboard and place healthier snacks, such as pre-portioned bags of whole-grain crackers, in a more convenient spot.

We all have days when it is easier to order a pizza or swing through a drive-thru at meal time. Limiting such days requires planning. Over the weekend, plan for the week ahead by deciding what meals you will cook and shop for the ingredients you'll need to prepare them. If you have time, do some washing, chopping, and other prep work in advance.

If you think healthy foods are bland, spice things up – literally. Dried herbs and spices enhance the flavor of almost any dish. Opt for low-salt or salt-free seasonings when possible. Other ways to add flavor include garlic, ginger, or citrus juices (like lemon or lime). Prepare foods in a new way – many foods take on new flavors when roasted, baked, or grilled.

Read food labels when shopping. Look for foods that are high in fiber, but low in sodium, added sugar, and saturated and trans-fats. If you have a chronic health condition that can be treated with diet, be proactive. Select foods that fit within the diet recommended by your physician or registered dietitian.

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Claire Marshall is a Senior Health Coach at UPMC Health Plan. For more information about health coaching, visit upmchealthplan.com/health/coaching.html.

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