Tips for Eating Healthy at Home and Work

Tips for Eating Healthy at Home and Work

by Jennifer Brown
Stripes Korea

Editor’s note: At Stripes Okinawa, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at okinawa@stripes.com.

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging. Unhealthy and cheap foods are easily accessible, making it tempting to go for those instead of the healthier options. However, with some preparation and planning, eating healthy is not as difficult or impossible as you may have thought. In order to stay on track, a few tips I’ve found helpful are to plan out snacks and meals in advance, meal prepping, and keeping healthy foods within reach.

Planning
Planning is an integral part of a healthy diet for a number of reasons. First and foremost, when we plan, we stress less. Ordering at a restaurant when I already planned ahead to order a Caesar salad, saves me time and mental energy. Planning out a meal ahead also helps streamline the time it takes to figure out what to cook, how much to cook, how long it will take, etc.

Meal prepping
Meal prep is another piece of healthy eating that can save us time. Sorting fresh fruit and vegetables throughout our week will not only ensure we get healthy foods, but also that we save time thinking about it. Realistically, meal prepping can be done with just about anything as long as you can delegate a certain time ahead to plan and prepare meals. Another benefit of prepping ahead is that it allows for planning in for some variety. It is quite easy to get into a habit of prepping the same meal over and over again which can then make you bored and risk going towards fast food or some other unhealthy food choices. Instead, we can use this as an opportunity to get creative and think outside of the box and look for new ways to use certain foods in meals or snacks.

Reach for nutrition
Another strategy is to have healthful foods within reach because when we have nutritious foods around us, we are more likely to go for these. This is kind of the idea behind when we are told not to think about eating chocolate cake. We can try very hard to not think about the cake, but we always end up thinking about it! Instead of beating ourselves up, we can use this process to encourage healthy habits. Keeping food rich in nutrients on the counter or stocked in our pantries and fridges makes good choices easily accessible. The idea here is that whether we consciously know it or not, we are thinking about the food that is around us, so why not have it be a food we enjoy?

Eating healthy does not have to be difficult if we can become smart about the way we think about and use food! With some planning and creative efforts, we can jumpstart our healthy habits. Putting into practice will eventually lead to making healthy foods a no-brainer!

Jennifer Brown is a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. Originally from Florida, she joined the Navy in 2018 and has been on the island for over a year. During her free time, Brown enjoys spending time with animals, running, rock climbing, and hiking. She is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her professional interests include social work, animal welfare, and children.

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