We say it all the time, that we want to eat healthier. But it rarely happens, and when it does, it’s hard to stick with it. Because picking up a burger and curly fries from the drive-thru or ordering in a large pepperoni pizza (with extra cheese, of course) will always be more convenient than preparing a healthy home-cooked meal.
But eating right doesn’t have to be a time suck, and it definitely doesn’t have to be boring and bland (who likes kale anyway?)—it all depends on how you do it. Daphne Oz, co-host of ABC’s The Chew and author of Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, shares her advice on how to make eating healthy easy, fun and delicious.
1. Put down the salt and butter.
“There’s different ways you can add huge boosts of flavor without necessarily having to add a ton of fat or sugar or sodium—which are things that people in this day and age are really concerned by. If you are on a health kick, learn how to experiment with low-calorie flavor, with additives like citrus, mustards and acids, such as different kinds of vinegars or horseradish.”
2. Look for options.
“Figure out healthy substitutions you can make. If you’re craving something crispy or crunchy, instead of going for chips, you can go a step in the right direction with a baked option. Or you can go all the way in the right direction and go for carrots with cottage cheese or hummus—with protein and a little bit of fat that’s going to keep you full and feeling satisfied.”
3. Make the most of your time.
“If you really are limited on time, take the time you might have on a Sunday afternoon and roast two rotisserie chickens in your oven. Eat one that night and save the rest for the week. I’m a big believer in getting double the output for our time. If you’re going to bother to turn on the oven and have something sitting in it for a couple of hours, do two of them. Make sure you’re really maximizing [your time].”
4. Keep it simple.
“This doesn’t have to be work. If you make it work, if you make it hard, you’re not going to stick with it long term—and this is something that I really want people to take advantage of and see the potential of their actions to make their lives much better. Food, for me, is part of that process. It’s really important to see that progress early on. It’s easy to see the results that are delivered from putting minimal investment of time on your part.”
5. Play with your food.
“I’ve always found that as an adult, it’s very hard to find places where it’s OK to mess up and it’s completely fine to make a huge mess and be terrible at something—and then to learn a new skill and to play in that space. It almost makes you feel like a kid again, in the best way possible.”
6. Don’t eat alone.
“Once you make that meal, gather a loved one around with you. Even if you go out to the best restaurant, I would always argue that a great home-cooked meal is a thousand times better for me than any fancy restaurant meal—because it was made with love, it was made for you, it was made by someone you love.”
Related: 10 Steps to a Healthier You