By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Monday, December 27, 2021

Who has time to eat healthy in 2022? YOU do!

Happy New Year, readers! January marks the start of resolution season, and healthier eating habits typically top the list. What are you going to do differently this year?

Willpower doesn’t always win. Stress and life get in the way, too. Therefore, eating healthy requires something more. No, not detox dieting or cardboard meals. What is it, you ask? Preparation!

RELATED: How to ditch the diet it 2020

Yep, that's it! Without preparation, even the most dedicated healthy eaters can fall off track. So, now that you know the secret, here’s how to put forth the effort.  Life is hectic, but meal planning doesn't have to be with these tips:

Stop the scroll and devote time to making a plan

There’s no guessing how much time is spent on our phones these days. Ever wonder how productive you’d be if you weren’t nose deep in your Newsfeed? Take 20 minutes between Facebook and Instagram to sit down and plan a weekly menu. Start simple by just planning the dinner meal. (Bonus if those dinner ideas have leftovers = lunch the next day.)

meal prep

Don't start from scratch

Sure, cookbooks and Pinterest boards offer hundreds of wonderful recipes, but the last thing you need to worry about are new menu items while working on this new habit. Start with your go-to meals (tacos, spaghetti, or soups, etc.) Repeat these every few weeks. Then, when you’re up to it – add a new recipe.

RESOURCE: Try these family-friendly healthy recipes

Shop the 'Short Cuts'  

Save time (and maybe a finger) and purchase pre-chopped fruits and veggies. Hy-Vee's Short Cuts makes it convenient for you to eat healthy without the hassle of prepping the goods. Use pre-chopped peppers in your scrambled eggs, cubed pineapples for a mid-afternoon snack, or the cauliflower rice in your chicken stir-fry. Low on effort, but big on flavor and health benefits!

RECIPE: Hearty Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Lean on frozen vegetables   

Just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, frozen produce should be a staple on your grocery list. Many of us don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Plus, no meal is complete without a pop of color. Brave the cold, and take a peek behind the frozen doors. Frozen fruits and veggies are an easy add to your meal plates.

LIVE 5-2-1-0: Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables

Remember the between-meal-bites, too 

Snacking the right way will help you succeed. Think protein + carbs (yogurt + apple or peanut butter + banana) for satisfying munching. Keep snacks around the 200 calorie mark, as they too, can fall into a healthy meal plan.

PaigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the West Ames Hy-Vee.