Can I tell you that making a grocery list and meal planning is one of my most despised activities? But I have learned, that if we are trying to eat healthily, we need to be prepared.
Healthy eating starts with an inventory. What is in your pantry or on your shelves? Do you have expired food? Food that you don’t like? Food that you don’t even know how to use it! This is the first step to success. Get rid of the things that you can’t or won’t eat and make room for the healthy food.
Also, clean out your pantry of crumbs, wipe down the shelves and clean your fridge too! I have to do this every quarter of the year to make sure the shelves are clean and expired food is gone.
Now, we can start thinking about filling up our shelves with healthy produce.
I have a few things I get ready before sitting down and writing a list. As silly as this sounds, I use a huge sheet of paper. I have one side that I put the grocery list and the other side I leave for meal planning. Since we homeschool, I have more than one meal a day that I typically plan for. If I wanted to get really crazy, I could plan all three meals a day, but I haven’t gotten to that level of preparation yet! I do plan lunch, snacks and dinner. I also use a pencil as I often scribble things out and draw lines everywhere. It looks like a storymap! It’s the story of our healthy eating.
I also take a look at my meal prep helpers: I have three slow cooker cookbooks I use, plus I use The Dinner Daily.
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I have really liked all of the menu items suggested by The Dinner Daily, especially because it takes into consideration my dietary needs (no dairy, no soy). You can customize your menu to make it allergen friendly, which is amazing and saves time too!
I also check the ads and my Fry’s Grocery Store coupon app to see what other things are on sale. Ibotta is also a great place to check out to see what offers are available if I buy selected products. Ibotta also has rebates on produce. Every little bit helps towards savings.
After all of this prep is done, It is time to order. I order most of my food online through Fry’s and go and pick it up. It helps me to not put the junk food in the basket!
If I go into any grocery store, its our Sprouts’ Farmers’ Market. I love going in there to see the beautiful produce. My rule for Sprouts is that I will bring the kids, and they can pick out a fruit or vegetable to try. We have ended up trying some interesting fruits! The kids love checking out food that looks interesting, so heading to a Farmers’ Market or a different grocery store for something new and fun can spark interest and conversation!
When I have my shopping lists and meals prepared it helps me with a couple different things:
- Having healthy things to eat and drink for meals and snacks
- Doesn’t give me an excuse to go wandering in the grocery store
- Doesn’t let me throw up my hands at the end of the day and say “Nah, we will just go out and eat”. I plan those occasions and even put that into my meal planning.
As much of a pain as meal planning and grocery shopping can be, it is so much easier with online tools!
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