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Simple Guide on How to Make Meals Healthier by Breaking Them Down!
One of the toughest parts of becoming healthier, and making healthier food for you family, is giving up meals you love. But, you don’t have to choose different meals completely and give up the foods you love! You simply have to break down meals into their most basic ingredients; and see where you can swap some out for healthier ingredients. Then you’ll know how to make meals healthier!
It sounds super simple, right?
You take a meal, find out what’s inside of it, and then change up some of the ingredients to make it healthier.
Plain and simple.
Yet, so many people have never done this before. Maybe they haven’t thought about doing it, or maybe they’re scared it won’t turn out well.
And, yes, sometimes it won’t turn out well. I’ve had many failed attempts at this, such as making ‘healthier’ banana bread.
It may take some time before you’re taking your favorite recipes and completely changing them up to make healthier, new versions.
But, there is so much you can do before even getting to that point of breaking down meals.
Start with what’s easiest to break down and swap out!
Maybe, instead of ordering pizza and soda, you’ll make your own pizza and drink water, instead. Or, simply adding veggies to the pizza will help make it a little healthier!
And now that you know it’s not impossible to break down your meals to make them healthier, let’s get to it!
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Find out Your (and your Families) Favorite Meals
The best place to start when it comes to breaking down, swapping out, and making healthier meals, is with your families favorite meals, and snacks.
Because these are what your family eats the most of. And, if you can start swapping out a small ingredient here and there in their favorite meals; they’ll eventually be eating a healthier version of their favorite food without it being a big deal!
If you’re not sure which meals and snacks are your families favorites, you could watch what they eat and enjoy over the next few days, or week. Or, you could simply ask them!
Grab a notebook, or any piece of paper you can find for this to keep track of their favorites.
Or, you could download the templates below!
Break Down the Meals into the most Simple Ingredients
Once you know which meals you’re going to focus on breaking down first to make healthier, it’s time to get started!
But, breaking down each meal isn’t going to be the same, some will be more complicated to break down, and some will be easier.
Food you buy out, like at fast food or some type of restaurant, are going to be the most difficult to break down and separate out into it’s basic ingredients. Mostly because, who knows what they put in it!
Now, you could ask the person serving it to you, but they might not even know!
Another way to find out is by actually picking the food apart and trying to determine what each and every ingredient is. But, if they used spices and other small ingredients, it may be hard to tell.
Or, you could find copycat recipes of your favorite fast food and restaurant food on Pinterest! There are some very talented food bloggers who do this for a living, or a hobby. (You’ll find many copycat recipes from your favorite restaurants, fast food places, and even Starbucks!)
If you have no clue where to even start when breaking down a meal you bought out; try starting with the copycat recipes, as they’ve already done the hard work for you with breaking down the meals into their ingredients.
The next most difficult food to break down and swap out ingredients for will be processed food.
It’s not as difficult as food you get out to eat because it has the ingredient list right on the package. But, the ingredient list may look more like ingredients for a scientific experiment than ones you would find in your kitchen!
Sometimes, with processed foods, it’s easier just to think about what the food is and try to find a homemade version of the food online to make.
Like if your kids love goldfish or cheez its, believe it or not, there are recipes online for those, that are also super healthy!
Find the recipes here:
And, there are thousands of recipes for breads, fruit or protein bars, and more, that you can find online!
My favorite place to look for them, if I’m not trying to recreate them myself, is pinterest. Just type in what you’re looking for and see what comes up.
*Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!
Homemade Recipes and Other Food
The easiest meals and snacks to break down into their simplest ingredients are going to be the meals you cook, or food you make, at home.
You’re probably already using a recipe, or maybe you’re just throwing a bunch of ingredients together; either way, you’re starting with basic ingredients. All you have to do now, is swap out the unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones!
Figure out Which Swaps you can make with the Ingredients
Some of the ways to make meals healthier will be super obvious; like, make the food at home, rather than buying out. And, it can be just that simple, too!
We’re not looking for perfect meals and to make things the healthiest they can possibly be right off the bat! Our goal is to simply, make small changes with the food we already eat to make them a little healthier each time.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every day to make homemade food to make sure you and you’re family is eating healthier. Let’s take a look at a few things we can do.
Making Food at Home
One of the easiest, and most obvious, ways to ensure what your family is eating is to make it at home. Even if it means you’re using slightly processed ingredients to make your family food at home; it sure beats eating out when you don’t even know what’s in the food!
If you think making all your food at home everyday is too time consuming, you need to learn to meal prep!
Now, I’m not saying you need to meal prep for every meal and snack your family eats during the week. Or, even that you should be trying to make every meal healthier all at once; that may be too intense for some people in your family, or even yourself.
Just take it one meal and snack at a time!
Start by prepping one meal for the week on the weekend; either keep it in the fridge or the freezer.
That way, you’ll know you have at least one really easy meal to have during the week, and that it’s a healthier option than cooking up a frozen store bought pizza, or buying food out!
Buying Less Processed Ingredients
Once you get used to swapping out some of the food you buy out to eat, you’ll probably find that you’re using ingredients that may be a little processed. You know, because it’s easier, and usually quicker, to make food at home if you’re using ingredients that are processed. Like pancake mix, dips and sauces, and other processed foods.
And, you may not think they’re that bad, maybe they’re even the food that you ate as a child, so you think they must not be that bad. But, if you take a look at the ingredient list, you may start to think a little differently!
Focus on swapping out processed ingredients for less processed ones. Buy the baking ingredients, like flour, baking powder, etc. to make your own pancake mix at home, or buy more natural ingredients. Such as buying the ketchup or maple syrup that contain no high fructose corn syrup.
Doing this will help you be on your way to eating healthier meals in no time!
For more healthy swaps you can make, be sure to check out: How to Eat Your Favorite Foods and Be Healthy at the Same Time
Not all that Complicated to Eat Healthier!
See, it’s not too hard to start on the path of healthier eating!
Find out what foods you and your family eat.
Break them down into their most basic parts.
Swap one ingredient at a time.
Or, of course, if eating out or buying a lot of processed foods, start trying to make more meals at home; one meal or snack at a time.
If you still feel lost as to how to make meals healthier, but understand that the easiest way, and least conspicuous way, is by swapping out one ingredient at a time; I’d recommend you start by reading this post: BASICS OF HEALTHY EATING: DO’S AND DON’TS | HEALTHY EATING TIPS