**This post has been entered in Works for Me Wednesdays at We Are THAT Family!**
First, if you haven’t read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5, go back and read all of those first! And if you’re new here, take it SLOW! Don’t try to catch up with us, go at your own pace. (That really goes for everyone, you may not be ready for three new steps every week, and that’s okay.)
Now, it’s time for steps 16, 17, and 18! Here they are:
16. Start meal planning
17. Try making your favorite packaged meal(s) from scratch
18. Reduce your consumption of grains
So why those?
Meal planning will help you a TON. I started getting serious about it last spring and I really love it. If I do no other chores, I will always do it. It’s kind of the highlight of my week. Yes, I’m a nerd. But, meal planning is crucial. I started because at the end of the day, Ben would come home and say, “What’s for dinner?” I’d say, “I don’t know, what do you want?” He’d say, “Whatever, you know I’m not picky.” Well, that gave me no guidelines at all! We’d go back and forth, I’d think, “What do I really want?” and more often than not, dinner would be served late, it would take a long time to cook (I’d get a craving or an awesome idea that was really fancy at 6:00), and/or I’d need to take a trip to the store for ingredients I didn’t have on hand. That, or we’d want to run out and pick something up from a restaurant. And that’s exactly what happens to most people! They pick something up, they toss something in the oven that was just from the freezer and dinner is late and not very healthy. It also wastes money because you buy food you don’t need or you buy things last minute, or of course buying packaged/ fast food is expensive. Instead, start writing out your meal plan a week (or two) at a time and then write your shopping list. Don’t forget to plan breakfast, lunch, and snacks in addition to dinners. You’ll always know the answer to “what’s for dinner,” you can do prep work in advance (even if it’s just taking meat out to thaw). It’s just a fabulous, fabulous system. We’ll be talking more about meal planning in the future…so if you’re unsure where to begin, look for that coming up!
A lot of people don’t want to give up their favorite packaged meals because they love them and there’s no way to have those meals otherwise. But you can! You need to learn to cook those meals from scratch. You can make awesome fried chicken, french fries, pizzas, etc. at home, from scratch. Check out Kitchen Stewardship’s “reverse engineering” series to learn how to do this. You’ll save money, and the food will actually be better, trust me. I eventually got to the point where if I tried something I liked in a restaurant or from a box, I automatically tried to replicate it from fresh, real ingredients. Try it! You’ll get your favorite foods but much healthier, cheaper, and overall better.
Grains are not so good for you. We talked about that last week a little bit. If you’re choosing healthier snack options like the ones we talked about, you’re already reducing your consumption of grains. But now turn to your main meals. Most probably have pasta, rice, bread, etc., right? That’s how we used to be. So now, instead of serving fries, serve a salad. Instead of pasta, try some spaghetti squash (we don’t even really like squash but we eat it). Skip the bread entirely and add an extra vegetable. Serve food over potatoes or cauliflower instead of rice. Pay attention to how many grains you really eat; it’s probably a lot! Aim for grains to make up no more than 25% of your daily food intake. Focus on meats, dairy if you can have it (especially cultured), and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts.
How are you doing on the baby steps? What are your next steps?
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