I’ve spent a lot of time in the past month or two saying I’m going to start eating better. I’m going to make better lunches. I’m going to cook dinner more often. I’m going to do a lot of awesome, wonderful, organized things. Except I never did any planning. And as you may know, lots of broad and generalized ideas accompanied by zero planning will get a person approximately nowhere.
So now, it’s time to plan. I figure if I lay it all out here then, 1) I can get my thoughts and plans organized, 2) I have more reason to hold myself accountable , and 3) maybe I can help someone else struggling with the same issues too. Since no one step is any more important than the other, I’m just going to lay them all out here and hope that it all comes together smoothly.
1. Buying groceries for the next 3-4 days only. I try to eat more real food than processed food which my body loves but my fridge does not. Whenever I start planning my meals I always end up buying an entire week’s worth of food. Over the course of a week I might skip making a meal because I’m tired or too busy but that food is still there. By the end of the week I’ve only made four, maybe five of my intended meals but all of the fresh food I bought is wilting away. To the trash it goes and my guilt rises. Getting this under control means we’re less wasteful and I can save money because I’m not buying excess food that’s never eaten.
2. Perfecting my recipe for a Chipotle burrito bowl copy. My first note was to perfect recipes for my fast food favorites but really it’s just Chipotle that I’m concerned about. I go there weekly and I know that making it at home I could not only save money but make a healthier alternative. I haven’t made my at-home version in a while but I have some new recipes that I can’t wait to try out to make happen. I found an easy recipe for their hot salsa which I think is going to make all of the difference.
3. Making sure there are leftovers. I – like most other nonchefs on the planet – don’t want to cook dinner every single night. But that doesn’t mean I want to be relegated to frozen food or sandwiches either. My mission is to make enough food each dinner for two nights. This means eating the same dinner two nights in a row which is a-okay with me and cuts down on the fuss and planning. Plus, it uses some of the endless mountains of tupperware living in our tupperware cabinet.
4. Have a variety of breakfast foods available. Here’s the deal: I don’t like breakfast. Well, okay that’s not entirely true. I love all the unhealthy breakfasts: chocolate chip pancakes, waffles, homefries, etc. Regular breakfast is boring and I really don’t love eating in the morning but I do it anyway because if I don’t then I reach a point about an hour after waking up where my stomach is slowly dying from the inside out. I usually just have an apple and a cheese stick but after a couple of days in a row I get so angry at the idea of eating another apple and cheesestick that I don’t eat breakfast at all or I grab fast food or pick something weird to eat that I didn’t really want anyway but hey at least it wasn’t an apple and a cheese stick. I’ve created a list of a couple of easy breakfasts that I can alternate between to hang on the fridge so I don’t have to keep fretting and I always have an option. The important part for me with breakfast is making sure I can eat it on my way into work so everything is easily transportable.
– apple, walnuts, cubed cheese
– English muffin, egg, cheese, sausage patties (turkey, chicken, etc)
– quesadilla – tortilla, cheese, diced peppers, salsa
– English muffin, tomato, cheese, egg
– Almond Apple Spice Muffins
5. Make lunches interesting. I end up eating tons of Chipotle because I give myself one or two of the same lunches to eat all of the time. I need affordable, mostly easy-to-make, quickish-to-prepare lunches that vary throughout the week and are also delicious. I also would love to use tupperware because I have an obsession with organizational containers of all times (don’t even get me started on my love for canvas tote shelves). Cue: bento boxes. I’ve seen them around for a couple of years now and keep saying I’m going to start making bento box lunches but I just… haven’t. I’m going to try them out for a week starting on Monday to see if it’s a manageable new addition to my life and I have high hopes. And, since I’m feeling crazy, I’m going to make lunch for David while I’m at it too. We all win here. I’ve already pinned my face off so if you want to follow my Pinterest board for bento box lunches check it out here.
I could probably make more steps but I think starting with five is good enough – no need to overwhelm myself right out of the gate. I’m hoping that these changes help me to get it together and get back on the food train in the right ways. I’d love to hear about your own food planning, bento box, grocery shopping trials and triumphs so leave them in the comments below or tweet me @fitlaughlove.