3 Ways to get back in Control with your Food Shopping
How are you feeling about food shopping and what you are eating at the moment? Have you had those weeks where you still spend the same amount of money as usual on food, but all week you don’t feel you have the ingredients to pull a decent meal together? Perhaps you end up grabbing snacks here and there, eating some random meals you aren’t all that happy with, going to the freezer or even getting a takeaway, even though you’ve spent money on food in the supermarket.
How do you get out of that place where you’re not quite eating as you’d like to, but you feel like you haven’t got the time or the energy to do much about it? It is possible to get back in control of your food shopping, and this video and blog give you 3 simple ways to do it.
In my experience, the main reason people don’t do food planning is because it seems like a big hurdle, something that’s going to take a lot of time and energy they haven’t got, so they just carry on doing what they have been doing.
I often talk about the hard road getting easier and the easy road getting harder. Meal planning and food shop planning is a great example of this. We could do nothing and take the easy road for now, but it gets harder because you don’t really know from one day to the next what meals you’re having, you feel like you have a lot of food but don’t know what to cook, and every day you end up making new decisions about what to eat. You might also end up doing top-up shopping, which also takes time and costs more.
So, while not planning seems like taking the easy option at first, you end up spending more energy, brain power (and possibly money too) as the week rolls on. But if you put a little bit of effort in up front, it gets easier, and you’ll reap the benefits. Read on for my 3 tips for reducing the barriers and getting back in control of your food shopping and planning…
Create a healthy default now. Whatever your default is right now, you go to that option because it’s the easiest thing to do. That might be going to the freezer, getting a takeaway, or even skipping a meal altogether. You might just grab snacks or end up creating a random meal that you wouldn’t serve anyone else, and which doesn’t really meet your needs. So, instead we want to create a healthy option that is easy to go to, and it becomes your default.
If you put in the time to develop a 1- or 2-week healthy, easy meal plan, along with the shopping list of everything you need, including things for breakfast and lunches, that can become your ‘I haven’t got time’ menu plan. You can just pick up that shopping list add it to your online order or take it shopping with you and you don’t have to think about it, you’ll know you have everything you need for your default.
If you have a favourite, easy and healthy recipe you like to cook, please do share it in the comments or on our Motivationfish Facebook page to create a bit of a recipe exchange and give people some ideas for their ‘default week’.
Theme days. If you’ve been following Fitfish for a while, and if you’ve taken any of our courses, you’ve probably heard about theme days. Instead of having an overwhelming choice of hundreds of recipes and every time you plan to whittle it down to 7 meals, pick themes for your days. That will reduce your choice down to 2 or 3 options for each day. You could have a curry night, an Italian night, a potato and a topping night, a stir-fry night a roast night or a leftovers night. If you pick themes for each night of the week, you will still have a variety of different meals, but you’ll reduce the choices for each day so it will feel far less of a challenge and far less overwhelming to plan.
Double up and halve your workload. For every meal that you make, think double. That might be the actual meal itself, so eat the same thing two night in a row. You might split it with another meal in between, as typically can leave things in the fridge for 2-3 days. So, you can have that meal twice in one week or you could use that meal as a basis for the next nights meal. For example, if you had spaghetti Bolognese for one meal, make twice as much sauce and use the extra for a lasagne another night. Or make more portions and freeze the leftovers to have another week. You could get to the point where you only plan to cook three or four meals a week from scratch instead of seven.
All 3 of these ideas can help reduce the barriers to meal planning and help you actually get started. Once you get into a rhythm and see the benefits of less waste, less expenditure, less stress, more health, and more balance you’ll surely want to carry on. And when you do it, you make things easier, you’ll start to feel back in control again and that will have repercussions in other areas of your life.
We discuss meal planning and other ideas to help you find a healthy balance in our 12-week online Healthy Whole and Free course, which starts again on 26th September. Registration is open and you can find out more here.