I hate to admit that at some point in my motherhood I have been known to frequent McDonald's or Chick Fil A many times - in.a.row. as in several.days.in.a.row! I would go through periodic spurts of fixing a healthy meal and then several nights of take out. I think it was because my grocery planning was way to complex. I would plan out major food plans for the week and then I would never stick to them! It was too complex of dinner plans and my grocery bill was over the top each week!
About a year ago I started having some liver problems, more than likely due to too much high fat consumption! I decided I was too young for this to be my life so a change was in order and change we did.
We stopped boxed cereal, we upped our fruits and veggies to 5 a day, sometimes more, we added a veggie meal to our weekly dinners and we dropped our food budget to $50.00 a week for 6 people! How did this all occur?
1. I always do my food shopping on the same day of every week. Every Monday my kids know that it is the grocery store day and then to the library, because I have a set day I'm not as likely to schedule company or teeth cleanings on my grocery day.
2. The bulk of my food purchase is in the produce aisle. I buy tons of fruits and veggies and I use them. Each morning for breakfast I slice 3 different fruits and put them on a plate for the kids to eat with their oatmeal, waffles, or whatever we are having. There are usually 5 of us for breakfast b/c my hubby is already gone to work for the day. So a good example for us would be a sliced apple, a sliced banana, and 6 oz of blueberries on the plate for us all to munch from. It gives my kids a couple of different options and we are eating more fruit *however, I do tell them they have to have atleast one slice of each!
3. I make sure that I use up every vegetable and fruit that I bought in that week! Many times on Saturday or Sunday I will realize I have a couple of sweet potatoes, half a container of mushrooms, a couple of sugar snap peas and an eggplant to use up before my self imposed weeks deadline. So I slice up all of those leftovers and put them on my jelly roll pan, sprinkle them with olive oil and a little Lowry's and put them in the oven at 350 for an hour. Whatever the vegetables they are always delicious roasted together. I also set up a buffet of all the leftover fruit and snacks in the kitchen so they are eaten up - this makes Sunday dinner lighter as we have been snacking on and off during the day.
4. I do not make a crazy food menu to buy from anymore. Each week I go to the store I know I will not buy any meat that is over $2.00 a lb. (unless it is fish and then I won't buy over $3.50/lb) so I only buy the meat that is on sale for that week. Then I cook from my freezer and keep my pantry stocked - I rarely have to run out at the last minute to buy an ingredient for dinner (but it does happen on occasion!)
5. I buy healthy snacks to keep on hand. Banana chips, dried cranberries, yogurt chips, and granola are typically available at any given moment for snacking.
These are just some of the changes that I believe have created an easier environment for me to cook in. They are small changes for the better. I'm still learning, but if you are like I was - sometimes it is just nice to know where to start! That works for me visit Rocks in My Dryer for more tips!