There are a few things that I have found to help keep people on track with their eating goals, their preparation goals, and their ability to save money at the grocery store by never wasting any food from having it spoil. If you can manage to focus on these several points, you’ll eat healthier and waste less food than you ever have before.
- Keep your healthiest go-to’s where you can see them first. That means your fruits, veggies, lean proteins, oats, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, etc. When you’re really hungry or don’t have a plan of what to eat, you’ll likely grab the first thing you see. If you see junk first, you’re far more likely to eat that junk whether or not you’re cooking a healthy meal afterwards.
- Keep it clean. Your dishes (as often as possible), your stove, your microwave, your countertop; nothing makes lazy people want to go out to eat quicker than looking at a nasty 4-day-old meat ball stain on a white countertop. The cleaner it is, the more likely you are to want to use it the right way- by cooking. If you cook on the stove multiple days per week, wash the stove top and the pots/pans you use and try putting them right back on top as a reminder to use them when preparing your next meal.
- Know where everything is. Keep certain types of foods or food groups in the same area so you know where to find them – like when you’re looking for a healthy carb to make with dinner. This speeds up the planning and cooking process immensely.
- Don’t forget about your produce. (remember #1 also). It’s extremely easy to buy plenty of fresh fruits and veggies for the week, accidentally hide them behind leftover lasagna in the back of the fridge, and then discover them two weeks later wilted, moldy and seemingly growing into a different species. “Buying healthy food is so expensive” they say; they’re right, especially when you don’t actually eat the food you bought at $4.99/lb. Keep fresh foods in the same drawer and/or right at the front of the refrigerator so you’re less likely to forget about them.
- Stock your freezer. The best thing about stocking your freezer with healthy options such as lean meats, fish, dark green leafy veggies, a variety of vegetables, and berries is if and when you run out of fresh healthy options in your fridge/pantry you will always have a backup plan. Take things out of your freezer when you need them and remember how much of your favorite foods you have left so you can re-stock next time you go shopping. I prefer to cook thawed out meat that is in my fridge and immediately replace it with something that is frozen so by the time I need it in a day or two it’s ready to go.
- Invest in a spice rack. Herbs and spices are what separate the bland cook from the person who loves eating the same thing week after week (which is me). Not only will your food taste and smell better/possibly different each time you prepare it, but you’ll be getting a plethora of awesome phytochemicals from the plants that herbs and spices come from that will add to the vibrant life you’re trying to live. Don’t forget about pre-minced garlic either, which is usually stored in the fridge, not the spice rack.