Planning and preparing meals at home can do true wonders for your health in 2018. By eliminating fast food, pre-packaged, and frozen meals, you will drastically reduce your intake of sugar, salt, and preservatives. There is not a single part of your body that would not enjoy (and benefit from) meals made at home from fresh ingredients!
Not only are you setting yourself up for improved health and better tasting food, but for less stress. You’ll know exactly which recipes you are going to prepare and when. Never underestimate the stress-prevention technique of having a plan. Not to mention the time it will save you – making one trip to the supermarket every week instead of multiple trips to get an item on the fly.
Eating at home is also a huge budget saver! You are only buying the grocery ingredients that you need, and avoiding spending your hard-earned cash on drive-thru, take-out, or delivery. You are also helping to reduce food waste because everything you buy has a specific purpose.
Try assigning one type of recipe for each night of the week to get you started. For example, Meatless Mondays (Veggie Stir-fry one week and Vegetable Lasagna the next) and Taco Tuesdays (beef tacos one week and chicken or shrimp the next.)
For salad night, buy a variety of fresh vegetables and let everyone make their own Mason Jar Salad. This way you get used to choosing a type of recipe for each day of the week, and can branch out from there.
Designate a place where you keep all of your recipes. Whether you print them out and keep them in a binder, write them down in a journal, or break out the old Rolodex, keep them all together and easily accessible.
Put your recipes on your family calendar, or print them out and stick the list to the fridge. This will prevent the daily “What are we having for dinner?” question!
Make a list of the ingredients you will need for each of your chosen recipes. Check your fridge and pantry for ingredients you may already have. This saves food and money! You can even choose your recipes based on foods you have that need to be utilized.
Also, don’t forget to check your grocery store circulars, and coupon websites to see which ingredients are on sale. You can do this before selecting your recipes and maximize your savings by choosing to prepare ingredients that are on sale.
Buying ingredients in bulk and cooking large portions is also a budget-saver. For example, if you are cooking for only 2 people, but double your recipe, you will have a ready-to go meal for the future. Stash these extra portions in the freezer and if the budget becomes especially tight one week, it’s freezer leftovers to the rescue!
Do as much preparation for your meals as you can. Wash your vegetables upon returning home from the grocery store. If you only plan to use half of that pound of ground beef this week, go ahead and put the other half in the freezer. Roast that whole chicken today, have it for dinner tomorrow, then use leftovers for chicken salad lunches later this week.
After you prepare the recipes for the first time, scribble a little review in the margins. For example, “next time add a little more oregano to the sauce.” You can also mark your family’s favorites with a star or heart, so you remember which ones were real winners.
Speaking of family, ask your dining companions for help with choosing the next week’s recipes. This not only spreads the responsibility around, it makes the chooser more likely to favor their recipe.
For example, give your picky eaters the task of choosing two meals for the next week. They will be much more willing to try a recipe they chose themselves, and even more likely to enjoy eating a meal they helped to prepare themselves.
Check out some of Diabetic Kitchen’s most popular recipes, and start cooking your way to better health, lower blood sugar, and a healthier 2018!