The best way to leading a healithier lifestyle is getting organized! Through the years I’ve learned many tips and tricks to help me get and stay organized, make better choices, and just make things easier! Some of them even save me money! I hope you find some of these ideas useful!
#1… Take inventory!
When you begin, it’s important to make sure you know what you have to work with, what you may need, and what you can get rid of! I try and go through my cupboards every couple months to get rid of stuff that’s expired, not too healthy, or not getting eaten!
Make a list of “staples”… stuff you should always have in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer:
- Brown Rice
- Whole Wheat Pasta
- Canned diced tomato
- Canned Crushed Tomato
- Frozen fruit
- Canned Tuna
Obviously this is a small list, but you get the idea!
Tupperware / Rubbermade is your friend! Buy some! Buy lots! Get them in different sizes for a variety of uses! You can store your dried goods and use them to package up lunches! You can organize your cupboards and your fridge!
#3… Plan Ahead!
Similar to “Get Organized” but also very different- you can have one without the other, but to be truly efficient, you need both! Going day to day with meals can be dangerous. If you eat what you feel like, you may be making poor choices. Or you may not have the supplies you need which can lead to going out for food. If you plan your meals out on the weekend, then go and do all your grocery shopping in one day, then you can ensure you have and buy only what you need.
In the past, my grocery shopping was disorganized. I had the “regulars” but for dinner, I would buy what I thought we may want throughout the week. Never worked out well. I ended up throwing away food- what a waste of money!
Here’s an easy way to plan ahead:
Buy yourself a small magnetic white board. Using a permanent marker, evenly measure out and draw 6 horizontal lines so you have 7 spaces. Draw one vertical line about 1/3 the way in. In the smaller spaces, write: Mon, Tues, Wed, etc to indicate the day of the week. On a consistent day of the week (I used Saturday) plan out that week’s dinners. Make a grocery list, then do your shopping later that day or the following.
I tend to only plan out dinners as they seem to be the hardest. Breakfasts and lunches seem to be the same week to week, so I always know what to get. Plus, as I’m so busy, it lets my husband know what’s for dinner, if he’s cooking for himself, both of us, of if it’s me cooking.
#4… Know where to Go!
I’ve never been able to understand people who go to three different grocery stores to save a dollar! Granted, some sales are too good to pass up, but I know of people who do that on a regular basis to save pennies! What about the time and gas it takes to go around to the different stores? My time (and sanity) is more important to that! I may shop at 3 different stores, but not at the same time! If I go during my lunch, I walk to one. If I go after work, I go to another that’s on the way. If it’s my usually weekend shop trip, I go to a third.
It’s important to know the grocery stores you frequent as it will save time. If you know exactly what you need and exactly where to go to get it, you can be in and out in a pretty short amount of time!
And getting to know the layout of the store is important to resist going down certain aisles that might be bad for your waist-line! Keep it to the perimeter of the store- that’s where you’ll find the produce, meat, and bakery. Most grocery stores are the same. The internal aisles are the “danger zones” and why it’s important to know those areas well- get in and out! Don’t even think about venturing down the cookie aisle! Why torture yourself?
It’s easy to eat healthy if you have some food pre-prepped in the fridge. For me, it’s essential to have rice or quinoa pre cooked in the fridge as well as chicken breast. I will sometimes even cut up fresh veggies and store them in containers to make stirfries and salads a cinch! Even if you make extra rice one night, you have it for the following night! If you’re making spaghetti sauce, make a big batch, package them up and put them in the freezer. Spaghetti sauce can also be turned into chili very easily! This will help spread out the meal and save money!
#6… Any means possible!
If you’re the type of who likes to hand write your lists, carry a pen and cross them off as you go, then great! I used to do that, but after a while, you run out of little note pads, you lose your pens, and it gets to be a pain!
Have an iPhone or iTouch? Check out the applications you can add!
I found a shopping list application that has been FABULOUS! There were two versions- one free, and the other paid. Pretty much the same thing, but the paid one had a few more features. I decided to get the free one to try it out before splurging and spending the $2.99 (or whatever it was) for the extra features. It took me 2 shopping sessions to splurge and get the paid version. I have 2-3 lists going- the regular weekly list, the stuff I have to get that day, and the ingredients for a specific recipe. The only mistake I made was accidentally hitting the “clear all” instead of the “clear marked“… but that’s only happened once in 3-4 months using it!
#7… ONLY buy what you need!
If you arm yourself with a grocery list, you should only be buying that! I’ve heard people complain that eating healthy is expensive. If you plan ahead, get organized, and only buy what you need, then it’s actually cheaper! Plus it’ll make you feel better! Getting your vitamins and minerals from whole food sources is always better than from a pill!
And isn’t feeling better what changing your lifestyle is all about?