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Eating Healthy: Quick and Easy Ways to Eat Healthy and Make Better Food Choices Now

Updated on June 1, 2014

Healthy Cooking: Basics

Healthy cooking can be as easy as reading a food
label or planning a meal. Here are six ways to eat healthy at home.

  1. Look at nutrition labels and read the ingredients.
  2. Limit processed foods.
  3. Engage in menu planning
  4. Choose healthier cooking methods.
  5. Go whole grain instead of white.
  6. Control your portions.

Nutritional Label.
Nutritional Label. | Source

Read the Nutional Labels, and Look at the Ingredients

You can often be surprised after reading a food label. But understanding it will help make better choices.

Included on each nutritional label are facts about the product, such as calorie count, total fat amounts, if there are any trans-fats, and whether a food is high (or low) in a certain nutrient. Ingredients are typically listed in the order of quantity: the first ingredients listed are the major components of the item.

Another good reason for reading labels? Reading labels is helpful when comparing different brands of the same item to help make a choice, for example, to see which contains less sugar. A thorough look at the ingredient list is helpful when scanning for artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, too.

Cooking Methods

What is your favorite healthy cooking method?

See results

Healthy Cooking Begins at Home

Limit the Amount of Processed Foods

An easy way to eat healthy is to simply limit processed foods in the diet. Try cooking - from scratch - the majority of the meals eaten at home. If time is an issue, try prepping recipes ahead of time and freezing fresh ingredients for when schedules are tight.

Don't have ideas? Search for them. There are lots of different slow cooker recipes and freezer ideas on pinterest and on recipe sharing sites on the internet.

A big benefit of cooking at home is every single ingredient is known and approved by the home cook; nothing is hidden, and better cooking methods are used.

Cooking at Home

Menu Planning

Planning menus ahead of time can save both time and money, as well as give you a chance to cook healthy.

A weekly family menu will list the days in print what the family will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which will help eliminate the phrase ‘What’s for dinner?’ every night. By knowing what is being served beforehand, recipes are easily gathered and trips to the market are limited. This not only saves time and money, but better choices are made on the meals themselves, helping to avoid or limit high-fat and highly processed QSR (quick serve restaurant) meals.

Better Cooking Method Choices

Frying foods is an easy and quick way to cook, but there are other ways to achieve a nice, golden brown crust. Try broiling or even baking chicken breasts and thighs, fish fillets, cut vegetables and other foods that are usually fried, and discover that crispy and flavorful entrées can be made easily in the oven.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Choose fresh fruits.Eat your recommended amount of veggies each day.Choose skim milk over whole.Choose whole grain breads.Avoid heavily processed foods, and choose products with no artificial ingredients and trans-fats whenever possible.
Choose fresh fruits.
Choose fresh fruits. | Source
Eat your recommended amount of veggies each day.
Eat your recommended amount of veggies each day. | Source
Choose skim milk over whole.
Choose skim milk over whole. | Source
Choose whole grain breads.
Choose whole grain breads. | Source
Avoid heavily processed foods, and choose products with no artificial ingredients and trans-fats whenever possible.
Avoid heavily processed foods, and choose products with no artificial ingredients and trans-fats whenever possible. | Source

Look at Serving Sizes

An actual serving size of black beans.
An actual serving size of black beans. | Source

Think of What You are Taking In

Choose Wholegrain Over White

Look at the color of sliced bread you are eating. What color is it? Looking at the color of bread will generally indicate what it is made from, and it is easy to see which breads are made from whole grains.

If kids are introduced to wholegrain bread early on, it is an easy way to incorporate whole grain foods in the diet. If kids are picky and anything other than white sandwich bread is snubbed, try whole grain white bread where all the benefits are inside the loaf.

Portion Control

Scales are an asset in baking, but are useful in portion control, too.

Measure out something in an amount that is normally eaten (like chopped chicken, sliced Italian sausage, or even grated cheese) and compare it to an actual serving size. It may surprise you that what is actually served and eaten is much more than a single serving.

Portion control begins at menu planning. Think about the meal if you are making. If you are actually planning for leftovers, than a big batch would be needed. But, if the meal is just for that day, consider the amount of food that will actually be consumed by each person (in healthy portions) and cook only that. You may end up cooking much less than what you thought

3 Healthy Cooking Tips

With these three tips, eating healthy at home is easier than you think.

  1. Look at the ingredients.
  2. Choose a healthy cooking method.
  3. Cook only for what you actually will eat, single portions, unless you are planning for leftovers.


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