More Than Resolutions: Improve Your Diet

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31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Improve Your Diet

Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

Improving your diet is not only a resolution for those who want to lose weight; choosing different — better — foods to eat on a daily basis also improves your health and your energy level. In fact, Jessica from Good (& Cheap) Eats is sharing a list of five benefits to motivate you to eat better in the New Year.

Here are my tips to help you move toward your goal of a better diet:

1. Plan your menu.

Improving your diet and cooking more at home often go hand in hand (although my family might argue whether my cooking can be considered an improvement!). In our home, the number one reason we end up eating fast food or convenience foods is because I haven’t made a plan for dinner.

We’ve talked about menu planning before, including the top 10 reasons you shouldn’t plan a menu, to help you get started. In fact, even if you are opposed to planning a weekly menu, take just a few minutes each morning to decide what you will eat that day so that you’re not left scrambling at meal times.

2. Keep a list of favorite meals & an idea file.

The hardest part of meal planning for me is making sure that we don’t eat the same things every week. To fight this phenomenon in your own home create a list of your family’s favorite meals, and add to it regularly, to use as a reference when planning your menu.

Additionally, an idea file (like the one I shared in my home management notebook post) is a great way to save all of the ideas you come across in magazines so that you can quickly flip through them when looking for inspiration.

3. Stock your freezer.

Once-a-month cooking may not be the solution for everyone, but a simple way to stock your freezer is to simply double a couple meals a week and freeze the extra portion. When life gets busy and you don’t have time to cook a healthy meal, you’ll be able to pull one right from the freezer to serve your family.

4. Set yourself up for success.

It’s hard to improve your diet if your pantry is stocked with sugary sweets and processed foods. Look for the areas where you struggle the most with eating better. Clean out your cabinets and drawers and replace the unhealthy items with healthy alternatives and fresh fruits and veggies.

I’m a snacker, and if I can’t find a healthy snack that appeals to me, I usually end up with something like a cup full of marshmallows to satisfy my sweet tooth. My goals this year are to serve veggies or fruit every day for our morning snack and to keep our snack drawer stocked with healthier options for when I get the afternoon munchies!

5. Take baby steps in the right direction.

Like every other resolution or goal in life, the biggest obstacle is often our own perfectionism. I don’t know why we think that if we’re not going to eat a perfectly healthy diet, we might as well give up, but I know that that way of thinking keeps a lot of people living in mediocrity instead of striving to do better.

If you have a weakness for soda but you know you want to cut it out of your diet, stock your fridge with juice along with your water. While juice might not be an ideal drink because of its high sugar content, it’s a much better alternative to soda and can help you fight the cravings that are bound to come when you make the switch.

Likewise, if you crave chocolate, limit the amount you eat each day or use it as a reward for other goals instead of avoiding it all together. Eliminating all of your favorite foods at once is likely to cause you to binge after a few days and give up altogether.

Are you happy with the way your family eats? What areas do you want to improve in 2010?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Achieve your goals with Design Your Life, an e-program that’s broken into easy, manageable chunks and delivered right to your inbox each week!