While I would love to tell you I eat healthy all the time and I go to the market each day to buy everything fresh, reality is I just don’t have the time to do it! If you are anything like me, you are living on a budget, you don’t always have time to prep for fancy smancy dinners, and you are just damn too pressed for time and energy! But just because we have all these restrictions doesn’t mean we can’t eat well. Here are some helpful tips that I use to keep my family eating well while keeping my sanity!
1. Pick one day out of the week to shop – My boyfriend HATES driving me everyday to get something new. And he is completely right! With gas prices so high, we all have to watch how much we drive. Not to mention all the pollution we cause when we drive. And yes, I am even looking at you people who drive priuses or whatever eco friendly car you have. Still gives off a little bit of pollution whether we like to admit it or not. Plus, think of all the leveling/gearing/farming/shooting time you would have if you only had to go once instead of 3 or 4 time a week! My rule of thumb for my day to shop, has to be on my day off. This gives me a chance to process all the food that I just bought. I will get into that later on.
3. Plan your meals ahead – I know especially for dudes this is just a REALLY boring job. But, trust me, saves you a ton of money and travel time in the long run. Make yourself a quick meal plan the night before you go. Takes you maybe 15 minutes tops because you are the one that ultimately knows what you want to eat. Always account for your raid/ops days, any days you have planned pvp, guild/game/team events through out the week. Most guilds or teams will have a set schedule or be able to provide you with what you are requested to do throughout the week a week ahead. On those days, make your meals simpler. I always go with a 5 day meal plan. That way I can still order my yummy in my tummy pizza or chinese food on friday nights 😀
4. Make a list – I ALWAYS forget things when I go to the grocery store. I see rows and rows of nummies and I forget my main purpose for being there! :S So, I make a list. I will admit I deviate from list when I’m there, especially if the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from the bakery area is on sale. That’s ok! Just remember to buy everything on your list first! I also tend to put little extras on my list like chips and pop so I know it’s all accounted for!
5. Make a budget- And this is why I’m saying buy what is on your list first! I always make sure I have a little extra budgeted for my extra num nums but first thing is always first which means what I need to cook my meals. Try not to overspend. I know it’s hard, but you will find by cooking your own meals, it will be cheaper than all the processed stuff. Trust me, I save about $20 – $30 a week cause I do my own cooking. Not to mention the money you save from NOT ordering in 😀
6. Process your groceries as soon as you get home – I usually buy meats in bulk and veggies unprocessed. This saves me a huge hunk of money that I can spend on some new tech toy later 😀 I buy things like chicken breasts or roasts in club/family size and then when I get home I divy it up for my meals. If the recipe that week calls for a marinade, throw the meat in the marinade and then into the fridge or freezer. Saves you time later and it has more time to soak in all the delicious flavour. Freezer bags are a great invention! I put what I need per meal in them, toss in the marinade and then when it comes time, I just dump the whole thing in the pan. Same thing with veggies. If the meat is to be cooked with the veggies, toss the veggies in with the meat. Let that soak everything up too. Cut, peel, chop whatever veggies you have that won’t go brown on you and divy it up like the meats. Cuts 15-20 minutes off your prep time because then it becomes a toss and go. Takes an hour off your day but really helps you out throughtout the week when you are strapped for time!
7. Pick Healthy Snacks – I know I am so guilty for this! I love munching on a bag of chips or cookies. But if I eat too much of it… yea… not good for me. My house always has some grabbable fruits and veggies. Baby carrot sticks and celery sticks (from above) lasts for about a week in the fridge. I love making my own dipping dressings. It’s super easy and usually a lot healthier than the bottled stuff. Bananas are Godsent in my house. Everyone loves them and it requires NO prep. Apples and pears are also really good go to fruits as well. If you are a go getter like me, roast some veggies. I take broccoli and zucchini and roast them up with olive oil and seasonings. Then I divy them up in microwavable containers. When I feel like chips, I’ll pop one in the microwave and I have a snack that’s much healthier for me. Those little fruit cocktail cups, awesome. Throw them in the fridge and they are so refreshing and disposible afterwards. I make my own chex and trail mixes. Takes no time to make and contains so much goodies in them. If you are REALLY feeling lazy, granola bars work in a pinch 😀
Hope these tips help! If I think of anything more I’ll be sure to add it 😀