If you’re trying to lose weight or just get out of the junk food habit, menu planning and food prep should be top priority. Too often plans for healthy eating go down the drain the first time you have to stop at the store on the way home from work or can’t figure out what to make for supper. Instead of getting groceries, getting take-out sounds a lot better! That’s easy to understand in today’s busy world. Here are some ways to avoid that hassle and make eating healthy a breeze.
Take an hour to save money and time.
Choose one day a week to go through the weekly ads, find out what’s on sale and plan meals accordingly. Use in-season fruits and vegetables to save money and even foods on sale or coupons. Plan your menu to use ingredients from previous meals and plan to make double meals. By making twice as much as you need, you’ll have food left over to put in trays and freeze for another meal. That saves time in weeks to come.
Pick one day to shop and make that trip after you’ve eaten.
Create your shopping list and stick with it. It’s easier if you already ate. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for the meals, so you don’t have to go back later to the store. If you want to get the kids involved, let them choose some of the food. For instance, if you’re having berries in yogurt for a snack, let them choose from blueberries, strawberries or peaches for the fruit. You give them a choice, but from a specific group of food.
Make the meals over the weekend.
It isn’t easy at first, but after a few weeks, cooking for the week will be a breeze. When you cook, double the recipe so you have enough for two meals. Freeze one meal, or even part of the meal, to use for a later meal. After a few weeks, you’ll have enough in your freezer to provide a few days of meals and you’ll have to cook far less each week.
- You can get meal freezer containers for a reasonable price that makes storage and use far easier. They have separate compartments and a freezer tight lid so all you have to do is warm the meal in the microwave.
- Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks available. One key is to wash and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables and have them ready to eat. You can use some of these for meal prep and some for snacks.
- Don’t forget soup. If you can’t use all the fruits and vegetables you chopped, don’t worry! You can also create soup and throw them into it. Leftover bones also make a great bone broth.
- Learn to make substitutions. Some simple ones are using wild rice or brown rice instead of white rice to lower calories and increase nutrition or using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.