Feel better … because there's no better feeling.
Ask anyone in my family…Melissa. Hates. Shopping. For clothes, especially. I think it’s because I can never find exactly what I want, where I want it, when I want it. My dear husband is eternally grateful that…I. Hate. Shopping.
However. I do like grocery shopping. Call me weird. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I like grocery shopping because I can plan for it. I’m a planner. A list-maker. A visual learner and doer. That grocery list—laid out in the same order as I will find the food in the store—is doable.
I can’t imagine going to the grocery store without a list—a plan (plus, I can’t remember anything any more, so a list helps). And that’s the thing—the plan. First I have to have a meal plan for the week, so I can have a grocery store plan (list). Otherwise, I tend to end up with food I never use. And that’s wasteful. And expensive.
And if I don’t have a plan, I tend to not cook. Then we snack or go out. And that’s expensive (for my waistline and wallet).
So here’s what I do to save food, money, and time—and you can do it too!
1. Sit…down once a week with your family calendar. Look at your evenings. Which ones are crazy busy? Which ones are more leisurely (well…relatively)?
2. Decide…which evenings you would have time to cook. Don’t forget about the crockpot! On the other evenings, plan for leftovers.
3. Research…recipes that fit your time limits. Google “30 minute meals”. Here’s your excuse to log on to Pinterest. Ask your Facebook friends. Look in magazines. Try recipes which use whole foods, not processed products. Plan to cook double the amount so you can freeze leftovers for those craaaaazy evenings.
4. Write…down the names of the dishes you’ll cook and where the recipes are. I put my meal plan on my iCalendar. An entry might look like this: “Feta-Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts—Pinterest Entrees; brown rice with peas; yellow squash”, or “White Chicken Chili—CE p. 32; sourdough bread”.
5. List…while you have the recipe in front of you, start your grocery list of necessary ingredients. Be sure to write down quantities of items!
6. Organize…the list according to where things are in your grocery store. At the very least, organize foods by type (produce, meats, dairy, canned, frozen, baked goods, wine…but I digress!). This step will save you tons of time. This step will keep you from wandering the aisles. This step will keep you from making those pesky impulse purchases.
7. Store…your food properly and in an organized manner. Look here http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/27-ways-to-make-your-groceries-last-as-long-as-pos for storage tips for produce. Put flours and grains in labeled canning jars. Keep your canned goods together in the cabinet with the labels facing toward you. (Heck, you can even alphabetize them if you want!) Freeze any meat you won’t be using within three days. And put a reminder in your phone/computer to get it out to thaw later!
8. Cook…your wonderful real food. Or your real wonderful food. In any case, enlist the help of your family, especially your kids. If they see ingredients before they’re all mixed together, they are more likely to eat the final product. Look here http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/12/06/raising-healthy-eaters-part-iii-cooking-in-the-kitchen-with-your-kids/ and here http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/07/26/real-food-tips-10-recipes-to-cook-with-your-kids/ for ways to include kids in food prep. They can wash veggies, mix ingredients, even cut softer veggies & fruits with those handy pumpkin-carving knives.
9. Eat…your yummy meal. Sit down with the family. No digital distractions. Put on some nice music. Use fabric napkins. Play a game. A favorite at a friend’s dinner table is “High-Low”—name the high point of your day and the low point of your day. Or just talk. You’ve heard it before: there are lots of benefits to regular family dinners. Check it out here http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20339151,00.html
10. Feel…better. Your wallet will feel better. Your tummy will feel better. Your brain and all the other parts of you will feel better. Your kids will feel (and act) better. Isn’t that what we all want?
Melissa and Sharon would love to help you and your family with any or all of the above steps. We can help you find healthy, easy-to-fix recipes and find ways to fit them into your busy schedule. We can help you navigate the grocery store in a healthy way. Melissa can help you with cooking skills.
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And look for us on Pinterest! http://www.pinterest.com/eatwellplaymore/