When actress Meryl Streep was recently asked to share her most important message for women, she kept it very simple: “Stop worrying about your weight.”

As a health and nutrition coach for women over 50, I couldn’t agree more. When I think of harnessing all the mental and emotional energy women have used fretting about weight, we could literally change the world.

Daily Food Routine – Keep It Simple

I thought life would become simpler when I got into my 60s, but it really has not. Fortunately for our generation, life is rich and filled with new avenues to explore, whether in person or through technology, that keep us quite busy.

So for most of us, having healthy eating routines that are not time-consuming is quite important.

Here’s what I do pretty much every day. It works and puts an end to dieting, and I rarely step on the scale. Things seem to stabilize with this formula as long as lifestyle habits like sleep and exercise stay the same.

My 18 Tips to Healthy Eating

  • First thing in the morning, I have a glass of water before anything else.
  • I eat breakfast. Always. Almost always at home.
  • I keep my cabinets stocked with whole grains, nuts, beans, oils and vinegars, herbs and spices.
  • I keep fresh fruit on the counter.
  • Onions and garlic are on the counter too.
  • Fresh vegetables are in the refrigerator – I buy them a couple of times weekly.
  • My evening meal takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare.
  • If I follow a recipe, it has to be uncomplicated and subject to substitutions that are in the cabinet.
  • I don’t have second helpings.
  • I eat slowly, chewing each bite thoroughly.
  • I keep a water pitcher on my counter as a reminder to drink.
  • I never drink soda but will have a glass of wine or occasional beer.
  • Ice cream, a favorite pleasure, is always a small serving topped with walnuts.
  • I change my food with the seasons – soups and stews in winter; salads, more fruit and fish in summer.
  • I use small containers (Japanese tea cups) for my go-to walnut and raisin snack.
  • Dinner is my last food of the day except for tea.
  • In restaurants, I choose an appetizer like steamed mussels instead of an entree, ask for vegetables. They almost always have them, but not on the menu.
  • At a buffet, I’ll look over the whole table before I make my choices.

Hazards and Pitfalls

For many of us, life in our 60s and beyond can look quite different from what it was in younger days. Your living arrangements might have changed, and you find yourself living alone.

Old routines no longer are needed or may not work for you. Being aware of that and setting up new routines is especially important.

Feeling at sea when it comes to food? If you haven’t cooked for yourself for a long while you may need some help in getting your pantry stocked and your habits in place.

If your cupboard is bare, it won’t be easy to work out these simple techniques. Many of the staples, like herbs, spices, oils and vinegars, need buying only occasionally, so it’s really just the fresh foods that you need to plan.

It’s best to set your own routine on food purchases, as you might prefer daily light shopping for your fresh foods, or maybe only once weekly.

It can be tempting to skip making dinner if you live alone, but it can set you up for night snacking. You cannot easily burn off late night eating.

If you really don’t like cooking at night, experiment with eating your main meal at mid-day and have a breakfast-like meal in the early evening. It will keep the hormones that regulate appetite and sleep in better balance.

This might seem like a lot at first, but it’s really very simple. What do you do to make healthy eating work for you? Slow cooker? Awesome sauté pan? Special way of organizing? Please share your brilliance!

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