Planning to Save Your Sanity

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France.
Image via Wikipedia

Who knew being a grown up would be so hectic, crazy, chaotic and time-consuming? It seems like our family went from calm evenings with plenty of time to make and eat dinner (together…at the table) to “oh crap, who’s supposed to pick up the kid from swim” practically overnight. Because of that, I had to come up with some strategies to keep my sanity and our health in check.

First, we make a menu. Sounds crazy, right? Oh, I’ve been made fun of plenty for this one. I so don’t care because it’s a life saver for us. And it also prevents the ever dreaded, “what do you want to eat? I don’t care, what do you want to eat? I don’t care but not that” vicious circle we always end up in if we don’t have a plan.

I grocery shop on the same day every week (Sundays works for us). We have a “family meeting” to create the menu. Don’t like what we’re having for dinner? Tomorrow we’re having what you picked, so eat your veggies and be happy. After we consult our calendar to see what days we’ll be home, if we’ll be home late/early, etc, we put foods on the menu that fit our schedule. Busy night? Spaghetti and caesar salad. (Whole wheat spaghetti, low sugar sauce, “lite” caesar dressing.) If I’m coming home early, then a little more elaborate meal will be on the menu. The menu includes the main course and all of our sides. Also, the Crock Pot is your friend. Trust me. There are a bazillion websites featuring healthy Crock Pot recipes that go far beyond pot roast.

After we make the menu, I make my grocery list to buy all the ingredients for each meal (also why the sides are included on the menu). This way, I only go to the grocery store once per week. First of all, I hate the grocery store. I hate spending money at the grocery store. I hate being at the grocery store. Plus, that’s where I always run into people when I don’t have makeup on. Second, it saves us money. We all know if you have to run into the grocery store for milk, you walk out $30 lighter. The less you go in the store, the more money you’ll save. We also keep a notepad on the fridge and if we run out of something throughout the week, we put it on the list.

As soon as I get home from the store, I clean and prep all our fruits and veggies. I spend about 30 minutes cutting up cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, cucumbers, etc. I place it in bowls in the fridge at eye level so the first thing we see when we open the fridge is fresh fruit and veggies. YUM!

We also like boiled eggs. While I’m cutting, chopping, and peeling, I boil a dozen or so eggs. Those go in the fridge too and are an easy 70 calorie snack. My kids love them and it’s a lot better than junk food for them.

If this sounds overwhelming, trust me, it’s really not once you get the hang of it. I spent about 35 minutes today prepping our fresh produce for the week. This way it’s ready to eat and easy to grab and go. When I’m making my lunch in the morning, I have several choices I can just put in smaller containers and take to work.

A little planning can go a long way for your sanity. And you might even be able to remember whose turn it is to pick up the kids.

**These sites have awesome ideas:
http://skinnytaste.com/

http://crockpotgirls.com/

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