101 DFN… 5 Ways to Stay Sane in the Kitchen

101 Days From Now, I am in the best shape of my life! We are embarking on a 101-day challenge beginning with goal setting and then phased mile markers along the way to create permanent lifestyle changes. If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the first post here. You can find all 101 DFN posts in the “+101 Days From Now” link in the header menu.

Erica is here as our first 101 DFN featured writer to share some great ideas to guide your nutrition goals.

So here we are, charging into Phase II.  Our goals are in mind, our routines are being put into motion, & most of us will be hitting up the grocery store in a health minded fury.  For some the first weeks are the easiest because we start with the best of intentions.  For others it’s the hardest because we just don’t know where to start!

#1.  Clean out & Organize:

Seems daunting, but it’s super easy & worth it!  Take 15 minutes to open your fridge & pantry.  Take a good look & clean out everything outdated or spoiled, consolidate things you have 2 or more of, & take out anything that will tempt you from keeping your goals.  i.e.: The stockpile of ice cream, soda pop, Oreos, or Doritos hiding out.  Then organize what is left so that you can glance into the fridge/pantry & know exactly what  you have.  It will make it so much easier when you are putting together your grocery list or just looking for a quick snack!!jaw_20130918-IMG_5195

#2.  Make a Plan:

You are already focusing on so much with your goals in mind & how you’re putting them into action…plus life, work, & possibly kids.  Why make it any harder on yourself when it’s time to get groceries?!  Find 15 minutes & sit down with yourself or your family. It can be over jaw_20130918-photo(4)your lunch hour or before bedtime. Figure out your tentative schedule for the week, think of the meals that will be eaten at home & which meals can double as a lunch for the next day.  If you know you’re going to have a crazy busy day on Thursday & only have a few minutes to get food on the table, plan a healthy crockpot meal!  If you know you are going on a road trip Saturday, be sure to get car friendly snacks & drinks so you aren’t tempted to pull off at all the unhealthy pit stops.  It’s all about your health, time, & money.  You want to get everything you can out of all 3!

#3.  Frozen vs Fresh:

Buying fresh & organic is ideal, but there are also some really great brands of frozen produce.  Coleman’s Catch has great frozen fish & there are so many great brands of organic frozen fruits & vegetables.  I like to stock my fridge with these because they are so handy, just as healthy & easy to prepare as fresh produce, plus they don’t spoil if we end up changing our weekly plans!  Frozen berries are great for oatmeal, yogurt, & AM smoothies!jaw_20130918-IMG_5192

#4.  Cooking ahead & Leftovers:

If you’re already taking the time to put together a great meal why not make a little extra for another meal?  Throw another chicken breast on the grill or double the batch of quinoa!  Then you have pre-made & healthy choices when you’re ready for a snack or don’t have time to cook dinner.  Put your breakfast or kiddos lunch box together the night before. A little ‘grab & go’ makes life a lot easier!
With that said, another option is to spend your Sunday night cooking & preparing most of your meals at once.  My friend Ally is a master at this & she is a BUSY woman!  She plans out her week, like we talked about above, & then puts it into action.  Cutting, chopping, grilling, boiling, and separating meals. Whew!  Monday just got a lot less stressful. No matter how busy she is, she can open the fridge & have her meal packed in 2.2.

#5.  Fun in the Kitchen:

All the planning, thinking, preparing, etc. can be stressful.  I enjoy cooking, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood. The key is to make it fun instead of a chore.  Who knew juicing could be so awesome?  The juicer is set up, the produce is out on the counter, & what could be such an annoying process is SO entertaining for US!  We make it together & giggle the whole way through.  Washing, chopping, a little veggie murder humor, I hand him the pieces, he grinds it in the juicer, we laugh about the overflow all over the counter, & then we taste!  In little shot glasses we cheers & taste our creation.  It’s all about your mindset & attitude.  Get your friends, spouse, or kids involved in the process.  The more fun it is for everyone, the more satisfying & motivating it will be for YOU!!jaw_20130918-IMG_5185

Thanks for reading!  What tips or tricks do you have for making your grocery life easier?  How do you get a healthy dinner in everyone’s belly when there are 101 other things to do?  We, and the rest of the tribe would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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