I always start to plan meals the day I’m going to shop. I generally shop on Sunday morning, so before I go out I’ll make up a meal plan for the coming week. It’s might sound hard but breakfast, lunch and snacks are pretty easy, It’s usually the same week after week. For me and my wife it’s pretty simple, we don’t buy a lot of complicated foods. What I mean is pre-made foods or processed foods. So I want Low-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt and frozen berries, eggs low-fat milk and Oatmeal. I stay away from any berries that have syrup included, I just what plain berries. I also get a variety of fresh fruit, whatever is in season. Even if they have apples in June, be sure to read the small sticker that tells you what country the fruit comes from. When things like Apple are in the stores in June and you pick Apples in the fall, you have to wonder how old they are or where did they come from. I always stick to fruit from California or Florida or at least fruit from the U.S. Harmful chemicals are used in other countries like in Central America by the big commercial growers to increase production. In the U.S. we outlawed this chemicals several years ago.
Next is the snacks and drinks. This is pretty easy for me, we drink lots of water and we might add a little juice to flavor the water. I look for juice without added sugar, then I buy tea bags and coffee. If you like beer, lite beer has about 100 calories per bottle and if that fits into your food plan, okay, there’s no added sugar in beer. Wine and hard alcohol has added sugar, but if you want hard liquor, tequila and vodka only have about 100 calories per drink. A good mixer for these alcohols is a carbonated water with no calories. I only buy un-popped popcorn, mixed nuts, seeds and for a treat, dark chocolate.
Dinner menus are the hardest I want to eat fish 3 times a week, poultry once a week and red meat about twice a month. The other days I try to go meatless. I try to buy mostly fresh vegetables, mostly organic and fill in with plain frozen vegetables. I like bread and rolls but it’s that easy finding whole grain items. They are out there and there’s more than ever before. I’m not talking about whole wheat, whole grain wheat or oats or barley, but whole grain. I buy gluten-free pasta, bread, bagels and pizza crusts. That way I don’t have to search the shelves for non-enriched flour. And for dessert we eat fruit. Don’t forget fruits like grapes and pineapple, but again try to buy only what’s grown in the U.S.
Before I go to work, while I’m having coffee, I plan dinner for that day. If there’s something in the freezer I need I’ll take it out and put it in the refrigerator. So I remember I always write down the menu and take it with me when I go shopping. If your organized enough to do this a day or two ahead then if you’re missing anything from the menu you’ll have time to pick it up. If you learn to stick to the planned menus then you can actually save money on food. It means a few more trips to the store, but the inventory of groceries around the house will start to shrink. This is a good thing and yes the kids need snacks, but this will give you the opportunity to make some healthy choices. When you wait until the last-minute to shop, you don’t have time to make the proper choices, you end up buying anything just to get out quick. I wish I could count the times I nearly got run over going to the checkout line.
Fruit is great snack food, it has sugar but its good sugar, its natural sugar. It’s all the processed foods that are causing our health problems. Try to avoid processed food. If you saw the Today Show when a health guru was talking about the six meals a day plan, maybe some of you thought it sounded crazy, but it’s true. Never skip breakfast, but be careful that you’re eating the right thing. Eggs are great, but only one yolk, the rest whites. toast is good, but not white bread or bagels, it’s just empty calories, and fruit okay. It’s very important to eat but eat good food and avoid food that doesn’t have nutrition. Get something for your food dollar. Go back and review earlier posts where I discuss the six meal plan. It won’t hurt to read it over again. There’s a lot of truth in that post. Remember you’re not eating to fill your stomach with things that taste good, you’re eating to give your body enough nutrition until you eat again.