While I used to be a major meal planner, that has fallen to the wayside this year. TH’s diet differs from mine, so the meals were only appreciated by me. As time got tighter, I felt bad for not cooking every night. I only eat out once a week (and only if there is a social aspect). I can count on one hand the number of times I get fast food or take out in a year. So, I wasn’t wasting money by not cooking. I just had to consciously let it go.
I had to try a different approach and feel OK about it. Tomorrow I’m going to talk about my venture into meal prepping, but today I wanted to go over my new, typical food approach. I’m not an expert in food or nutrition – I just wanted to share how I’ve had to adapt to a busy schedule.
I keep a lot of healthy food staples in the house and chow down. It’s basically that simple. I’ll cook if I have time and then am happy to eat leftovers, but I’m OK if I don’t.
What’s in my refrigerator?
I try to buy in bulk and that means buying like 6 lbs of oranges or 8 lbs of apples at a time and then eating them as quick as I can.
I put it in smoothies, eat them for a snack, or as a side to my meal. Frozen fruit is great in smoothies.
Buying this much fruit is a commitment and gives me a sense of obligation to eat fresh fruit. (and it’s cheaper)
I keep several bags of frozen vegetables on hand. It makes it easy to add veggies to a meal.
For fresh veggies, I almost always have onion, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. I am comfortable cooking with them and can incorporate them into almost any meal.
Avocados!! And I keep a big package of salad greens. I typically don’t ever think, “Man, I’m going to eat a salad,” but I start with a protein like tuna or a turkey burger and then end up tossing it on some greens.
Any raw meat goes immediately into the freezer. I have lost a lot of unplanned meat in the fridge.
I will thaw the day-of or toss it in the slow cooker still frozen. There is always chicken, steak, seafood, and turkey burgers in the freezer.
Canned salmon and tuna are easy for salads, sandwiches, or cooked into patties. Lunch meat and a rotisserie chicken are great for salads, sandwiches, or just straight-up for a snack. Ohh, and peanut butter is easy and yummy.
I used to hate eggs as a kid, but now I eat a lot of them – fried with veggies often. I crack one open into my oatmeal before I cooking. A batch of hard-boiled eggs (cooked in the oven) is easy to keep for another protein snack.
Oatmeal. And wheat bread with seeds, flax, and other yummies.
The fun stuff
I’m not a big sweets person, but there is always beer or wine in the house.
I buy crackers for TH and they are often mindlessly consumed by me.
Nowadays I keep aged cheddar or Parmesan for toppings or a quick snack.
I eat too much bread.
And I often buy rotisserie chicken even though I know cooking my own at home would be healthier. That is definitely a convenience-sake thing.
I try to keep foods that are versatile and easy to store. TH and I have very different diets so it’s up to me to consume the things I buy. I freeze a lot of food, and if it can’t be frozen I’ll prepare it and then freeze it.
I also try not to overwhelm myself with choices — I typically have one fruit and one veggie that don’t keep long. If I become too ambitious, I know I’ll just end up being wasteful.