Having a wide variety of food options in your kitchen is the first step to eating healthy or sticking to your recovery plan.
It is common to pursue our goals at the start of the week but stop when we run out of healthy food. Life gets in the way and it’s hard to stay on track, regardless of what we are trying to accomplish. That’s when a vending machine looks appealing as an easy fix. (In case of emergency: The Vending Machine: A Reliable Source of Fuel?)
Here are a few tricks that can help you successfully shop for food and plan meals.
Look at the Week Ahead
What events do you have going on? What nights are you working late on a project? Any practices or games or school events? Plan quick dinners for these nights. A white board with a calendar is helpful to plan out the week with both events and meals.
Pick Your Meals
I try to pick one or two new recipes I’ve seen online or “pinned” to my boards and incorporate them in the plan for the week. Think about how you can use some of the same ingredients in different meals. For example, if a recipe calls for beans, make it a side dish the following night or mix some in a salad for lunch. Fill in other quick 10-minute meals and plan any nights eating out.
Here are some examples of 10-minute dinners.
Don’t Forget Breakfast and Lunch
Most of the time, we plan our dinners but forget to prep anything for breakfast or lunch. I usually rotate between two or three different breakfast and lunch ideas, enough to get variety without a lot of prep or buying too much food. Here are some creative and quick lunch ideas.
Keep a Running Grocery List on Your Phone
I usually buy a few common staples each week. For meals, it helps to have a list with me, especially if I run to the store after work. It’s easy to add items as you run out of things or come across a new recipe.
Shop for School
Pick up some things to keep at school for quick snacks or lunches. This may be easier than trying to bring in a bunch of different things each day.
Take Advantage of Weekends
The more prep you can do—including chopping, cooking and packing—the easier your week will be! If you’re making Sunday dinner and the oven is on, throw in some extra chicken for Monday or Tuesday.
This is becoming a popular service that can be helpful during weeks when you don’t have time to get to the store. You can shop online and have it delivered to your door! Although you pay a delivery fee, you may actually save money since you will not be tempted to pick up things not on your list. Check to see if your local store has this service!