We all start the year with grand plans of eating better, getting healthier and generally improving our eating habits. However, these plans often fall by the wayside after a few weeks or months, as we settle back into a routine of doing what we’ve always done. If you’re serious this year about changing what you eat for the better, just know it can be done. It involves some planning, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult or time-consuming as you might think. Here are some ideas for going about it.
Write a list of healthy meals your family enjoys
First things first. It is useful to have a list that you can fall back on- any time you’re stuck for what to make you can get ideas from here. It prevents you from giving up and ordering a takeaway or swinging by the drive-through because you weren’t sure what to prepare! Think carefully, write down any meals you currently make and your family enjoys. Go through Pinterest, coming up with ideas and writing them down for things you’d feel confident cooking. Remember, just about any meal can be made healthy when you’re cooking it yourself. From pasta dishes to curries, you can always reduce the oil, salt, and sugar and bump up the veggie count. So build up your repertoire, writing down all of the meals you’d be happy to cook and eat.
Create a menu each week
Now you have a long list of meals you know you like, it will be easy to build a menu each week. Get yourself a chalkboard menu, and fill it in with seven of the dishes you’ve listed. Bear in mind things like time constraints- if there are days during the week that you’re particularly busy or come home tired then pick an easy dish, such as a slow cooker meal. If you have more time at the weekend, you could cook something more elaborate.
Shop to a list
Once you’ve written out your weekly menu, you can then build a grocery list based on exactly what you need. It’s worth stocking up your store cupboard first with things like dry ingredients and seasonings. That way, you only need to buy a few fresh bits and pieces each week to make up the meals. When you shop to a list you save money, nothing is being wasted, and you don’t need to be sucked into buying things on sale that you don’t actually need. If you are really pressed for time, meal kit services can be useful. You choose the recipes you want from their site, and they send you the exact ingredients so no need to run out to the shops. Sites like the meal kit comparison can help you choose the right service for you.
Other meals and snacks
When you are cooking every evening, it’s worth keeping the rest of your meals simple. Healthy breakfasts can be wholegrain toast, fruit, yogurts, or cereal. Lunches can be salads or sandwiches, that way you know what to buy each week but can switch out the fillings to keep it interesting. Things like string cheese and boiled eggs make great savory snacks and are protein-rich so keep you filled up. Boil up some eggs at the start of the week and you’re good to go. A big bowl of fruit makes for ideal grab-and-go snacks for all the family, and any leftover at the end of the week can be chopped and frozen, ready to throw into a smoothie.