Every once in a while I make a resolution to eat better. I rummage through cookbooks and compile every healthy recipe I see. I write a comprehensive list of all the healthy foods I can think of, and then I rush to the grocery store where I pick up enough food to feed an army for three months.
Day one goes smoothly. I prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner, measuring out well-rounded portions, and stuffing myself until I’m nauseous with all that wholesome goodness. Day two, I start skipping breakfast again. Day three, I start noticing that all the fresh berries and greens that I bought by the bushel are starting to get slimy. By day four, I completely throw in the towel, and wait another month before I toss all of the rotten food from my fridge. Gross!
That’s the old me. I refuse to repeat that cycle again. I have finally learned a few things from my many failed attempts at meal planning.
1 Stock Up the Right Way
The pantry should always have dried fruit, nuts, pasta, rice, oats, and other whole grain items on hand for quick and wholesome weeknight meals and snacks. Likewise, the freezer should have a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables for split second smoothies and weeknight side dishes. Before heading out to stock the pantry, pay attention to what you normally eat. Don’t force yourself to buy an item you don’t like just because it’s healthy. With so many choices available, there’s no use in stocking up on quinoa or macadamia nuts if you hate the taste. If the recipe calls for ingredients you know you don’t like… improvise!
2 Plan ahead
Don’t try to come up with a menu plan to last for a year and go overboard at the store. Try to stick to weekly meal plans at first, and then work your way up to monthly meal plans. One of my biggest downfalls is wasting money on food that I end up not eating. Now, I’m determined to use coupons and plan meals around what’s in season and what’s on sale.
3 Be Prepared With the Right Tools
Cooking can be quite the ordeal if you have blunt knives, a rusty colander, and electrical tape on your small appliances. Every kitchen needs fully functioning utensils and gadgets. Now’s the time to get your brand new knife set, and your state-of-the-art slow cooker. As the presiding Chancellor of all lazy cooks, I can tell you that spending money on gadgets that cut cooking time and effort down, is money well spent.
I’m totally winning at meal planning now. I definitely have some fine tuning to do, so I’d love to hear your tried and tested tips in the comments!