Organization. Yep, I just spouted that ugly word like it was nothing. Here’s what I think. Time is available, but the organization of that time is what actually pulls us down the rabbit hole of fast food and unhealthy, overly processed snacks.
For me, the turning point in learning how to manage daily life AND put my family’s health as a priority, came when I learned that planning ahead was the key to success.
Today I’m sharing with you three ways I took charge of meal and snack organization.
The Grocery and Meal Planner
Some of you may already be using this planner that I send out to all my subscribers. This is the actual planner that I use.
How does this help me eat healthy?
- I can decide ahead of time what meals and snacks I will buy. When I stick to the list, it curbs temptation to just grab what looks good at a moment of weakness in the grocery store.
- I can look at recipes ahead of time and decide if they are good for my family.
- I can plan when likely unhealthy meals will occur. I actually write down when we plan to go out to eat or when we have a ball game scheduled and will likely need to eat something quick like a sandwich. When viewed on paper, this helps me determine if we are keeping things in balance or if we are getting a little out of control with our habits. After all, I promote moderation. Having something unhealthy once in a while is not likely to affect the average Mary. But when those things become a habit, I like to step back and re-evaluate and make healthy choices a priority again.
- Bonus: It helps me eat Healthy on a Budget.
The Inventory List
With my stack of printed meal planners, I keep my master Inventory List. This is where I list all the stuff in my pantry and freezer. When I make my meal plan for the week, I update the amount I have on hand. This also helps tremendously with the budget.
- I plan my recipes around what I already have on hand.
- I don’t spend extra money because I forgot that I already have two pounds of hamburger already in the deep freeze.
- I don’t forget ingredients because I thought we had butter, but we actually have only a tablespoon left.
To use the inventory list, print out and place into a plastic sheet protector or laminate the list. Attach to the refrigerator and store a magnetic dry erase marker beside it to update whenever you use an item.
The Snack Options List
Trying to eat healthy while kids are in the house can be like wading through shark infested waters. For those who have always had a healthy pantry, maybe the struggle is less. But for those of us who made the switch after allowing junk to multiply in the pantry, kids are the toughest critics.
Act I, Scene I: Kid opens fridge full of food, looks around, bereft, and states, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”
Yes, there is plenty to eat. It must be assembled.
But I’m not really putting down the kids here. I understand. Sometimes looking into cabinets with food that is not pre-packaged can be overwhelming. Where do I start?
That is why I came up with the Snack List at our house. I don’t do it as often now, but it really helped when our family began to make an effort to put our health as a priority. And it doesn’t just work for kids. I looked at the Snack List as often as they did to remind myself what my options were.
Here’s how it works: Take the individual items you bought and create some easy to assemble, one, two or three ingredient options to post on the fridge. This one can also be placed inside a sheet protector and updated with a dry erase marker.
You might not want an apple at first glance. But then you look on the list and see apples with peanut butter and think, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good!”
Here is a list of some snack options to get you started:
Apple Slices + Peanut Butter
Plain Greek Yogurt + Berries
Grapes + Cheese
Cheese + Whole Wheat Toast
Avocado + Whole Wheat Toast
Corn Tortilla Chips + Salsa
Boiled egg + Fruit
Plain Greek Yogurt + Peanut Butter + Honey
Baby carrots + Hummus
Cherry tomatoes/Broccoli/Cauliflower + Ranch dressing
Whole Wheat Bread + Nut butter + Jelly
Mascarpone + Grapes/Strawberries
Granola Cereal + Milk
Plain Greek Yogurt + Granola + Honey
*Notes: The items that list honey are meant to have only a drizzle. You may want to monitor your kids in the honey jar! You could also use Ezekiel Bread or another gluten free variety if you have digestive issues with wheat.
4. The Seasonal Produce List
As a bonus, I’m re-posting my Seasonal Produce List here. Keep this with your Meal and Grocery Planner to determine what items are in season, and usually more affordable.
If you like these ideas, please share with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram! You can use the links below. Sharing is caring!