​6 Simple Ways to Cook Healthier This Year

Whether you’re trying to shed a few pounds, get in control of your health, or start better eating habits for your family, there are plenty of reasons to cook healthier in 2015. So, how do you go about it?

Buying food that’s better for you is the obvious way to cook healthier. However, there are things you can do to create better cooking habits before you step foot in a grocery store. Get started on your way to healthier cooking this year with these six easy tips:

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
This isn’t a hint to take smaller bites, but rather to take smaller steps towards cooking healthier. If you try to change your cooking habits for every meal overnight you’ll wind up getting overwhelmed and throwing in the towel prematurely. Instead, start trying to cook healthier for one meal at a time.

2. Make healthy swaps
Try swapping out a few ingredients in your favorite dishes for healthier ones. For example, try ground turkey instead of beef in your favorite chili recipe or brown rice instead of white rice in stir-fries or side dishes.

3. Decide to meal plan
Its five o’clock and you can’t think of a thing to cook, so you hit the drive-thru or order pizza. Meal planning can help you avoid this scenario and make it easier to cook healthier for your family. Pick a night to plan out your family’s meals for the upcoming week. Try to incorporate one or two new healthier recipes into your meal plan (remember small bites) along with old favorites. Don’t forget to plan out breakfasts and lunches too. If the thought of meal planning overwhelms you, there are plenty of meal plan services that you can subscribe to for a small monthly fee.

4. Shop smart at the grocery store
Another step in cooking healthier is buying better-for-you ingredients at the store. Seems simple right? Wrong. Stepping foot in a grocery store without a list can derail your plan for healthy cooking. You’re more likely to buy things that aren’t on your list and forget an ingredient you need. Health experts recommend shopping the perimeter of the store where less processed foods like produce, meat, and dairy are located. If there’s just too much temptation to buy unhealthy foods, many grocery stores allow you to place online grocery orders and pick them up!

5. Get organized in the kitchen
Another barrier to healthier cooking is a disorganized kitchen. You’re less likely to want to cook if you have to rummage around to find the right pot or pull everything out of the cabinets to find the right dish. Make it easier to find the tools you need to cook healthier with pull-out organizers from TheRTAStore. You’ll find organizers for spices, pots, cookie sheets, and more!

6. Get serious about your slow cooker
If there’s one kitchen tool that makes it easier to cook healthier, it has to be the slow cooker. There are tons of healthy slow-cooker meals out there and most of them require minimal prep. Throw the ingredients in the cooker in the morning and dinner will be done when you get home. Cooking healthier this year doesn’t get any easier than that!