Planning ahead not only keeps healthy options in the house, but keeps you on budget. When you plan and write a list, you should have an idea of what you’re spending. You can look at the list and maybe find places to save.
A great way to make this easier is to use online shopping. You don’t have to do it all the time, but it’s a great resource. You can put in your list and see exactly how much you are spending. This also eliminates any impulse buys 😉. Is it perfect? Nope, but it is helpful for many people. They also save your list making it easy the next time you order.
Personally, I go to several stores when I’m shopping; but not everyone has that availability. I have found planning the freezer crockpot dinners has me using BJs more often. I’m buying in bulk and using it all quickly.
I’m also using more frozen vegetables in the crockpot prep (you don’t have to prep to use them, they can just be thrown into the crockpot). Frozen vegetables are a great way to save money and eat healthy!
There is also the aspect of knowing you have the food and dinner is ready. I don’t know about you, but we HATE throwing out food. There’s hardly a time we will go out to eat if dinner is planned. This doesn’t mean we never eat out, it’s simply part of the plan.
Do you find planning ahead easy? What is the hardest part?
You can check out my meal planning post (with printouts) here
Many people are talking about mind-full eating, the first step should be mind-full shopping. Taking the time to create a list and sticking to it. Pick a day that is easy to go shopping. Maybe it’s when the kids are in school or on a day that isn’t too stressful at work. If it is a difficult time you will rush and pick convenience over health. Once you have chosen your shopping day, create a menu for the week. Write down a meal for each day and figure out the ingredients. Don’t forget to plan for breakfast and lunch. Look at your menu, do you have fruit and vegetables with each meal? What about snacks? By planning ahead, you won’t grab the easy, unhealthy food and an added bonus – it will save you money! This will make your day easier as well. You won’t have to worry during the day about what you are going to make for dinner, you will know what you are eating and all the food will be in the house.
Some easy healthy options are buying trail mix (preferably in prepackaged snack packs while you learn the portions) that has both dried fruit and chocolate chips so you still get a sweet and salty treat. I try to keep some fruit that doesn’t go bad quickly such as apples and cantaloupe. Washing the apples and placing them in a bowl will make them easy to grab when you are hungry and hunting for a snack. Don’t forget about frozen options too. My kids love frozen mango! Frozen veggies are easy to throw into any meal. We use frozen veggies with quinoa. Simply defrost 1-2 cups of frozen vegetables, cook the quinoa following the instructions on the package, after cooking stir in the vegetables and you have an easy, good for you side dish.
After being mind-full of our actions for the past week, by keeping a health journal we can take it a step further to being conscious of what we are buying. Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice and a lot of work. Remember small steps are the key to success!!