The average American gains about one pound during and around the holiday season. While that doesn’t seem like a large amount of weight gain, studies show that American’s also never loose that one pound. Eating healthy is an important way to not gain the dreaded holiday pounds but it requires organization and planning…which sounds like a big daunting task. However, if you think about it, you can manage it like you manage any other habitual part of your life. You have to decide what to eat several times a day (and sometimes even whether or not to eat). Another decision we face daily is what to eat.

Here is a step by step guide to healthy eating for you and your family. Do not forget to purchase natural and organic groceries.

1. Eat at home.

I know that this is one of the hardest things for me to do. Of course, if you don’t have anything but Saltines from 1985 and expired cans of chicken broth, that’s not going to turn out well. So, here’s a project for this weekend:

2. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy meals and snacks.

Here’s what you can do right now… Write down 5 healthy and organic snacks, 5 healthy and organic breakfasts, and 5 healthy and organic lunches you can prepare in 15 minutes or less. I try to have most or all of these on hand so that you have some choices. Here are some of mine:

Breakfast: McCann’s Steel Cut Oats made with half water half milk, Wheat Bagel with Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Greek yogurt with Grape Nuts and Cut-Up Fruit, Newman’s Own Cereal & Milk, Bran Muffins with a glass of juice.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich (with banana peppers!), Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers, Spring Mix Salad and Tuna pelted with Balsamic, and Organic Pumpkin Soup

Snacks: Bran Muffin, Sugar Snap Peas, Baby Carrots, Crackers & Cheese, Apples & Peanut Butter (my absolute favorite)

Buy all of these (organic of course) and keep them in stock. Starting a list of 14 healthy dinners you can prepare in an hour or less can also help you with your grocery shopping. If you are on the go a lot you could also have a list of lunches at quick-service and fast-food restaurants.

Occasionally you may go out to eat, but only if you are planning ahead. Hence:

3. Plan eating out for special occasions. For me that includes going out to lunch by myself once a week, frequently for $7 or less. The important thing isn’t that it’s fancy or expensive… just that it is something you can look forward to. Do this even if you have to eat out alone.

Having a little snack or a fabulous dinner to look forward to can make all the difference in how we use food to motivate and pacify ourselves throughout the day. When, what and how we’re going to eat next is always on our mind. We might as well have a little giggle and enjoy the though of biting into a healthy little morsel that we know will reward us in the short term and the long term!

Happy healthy eating to everyone!