Do you ever find yourself wanting to eat healthy, but not having the discipline to stick with it? Do you find yourself exhausted and overwhelmed by the thought of preparing a meal from scratch…with kids in the kitchen? Do you ever throw a pre-packaged meal (or in my case, random raw food scraps) on the table because you didn’t get to the store in time, couldn’t figure out what you wanted to make, or my personal favorite – you’re missing the one ingredient you need to make your recipe (and of course you had that ingredient just two days ago)?
This is not my fridge. No, this is what I want my fridge to look like this evening before I go to bed. The inside of my fridge looks more like a tazmanian devil stormed through my house and tossed the groceries in the fridge before a child could toss them all over the floor. The problem is, I then forget what I have in the fridge and am so overwhelmed by the hidden mess of fruits and vegetables that I dare not venture beyond what my eye can see when I first open the door. Can you relate?
In our house, we cook everything from scratch, and by scratch I mean we use nothing that comes pre-prepared from a box. We also don’t use a microwave, canned goods, or frozen meals. Thus, each meal takes a lot of planning, preparation, and cook time.
Before I had Mea, if I ran short on time I’d grab a protein shake, some raw fruits or veggies, or order in. But because both her and my husband also require healthy meals, I’ve had to figure out how to adjust my day so that I know what I’m cooking, have the ingredients, (can find them in my fridge), and have time to cook it.
Enter – this amazing post from the Green Plate Rule. This healthy Mama has a Sunday night prep where she organizes her fridge for the meals she is going to make that week. I use her prepping tips, as well as meal planning tips from the Nourishing Home to organize my fridge each week.
Here are a few tips that will help you organize your fridge and meal plans while saving you both time and money. Who couldn’t use a little extra of both right?
1. Plan your meals for the week. Plan a healthy menu for 3-7 days. Make a grocery list and purchase only the ingredients you need on your list. If you don’t, you’ll end up buying a whole bunch of ingredients for things you think you might want to make, and they’ll end up going bad while you try to remember what it is you bought them for. Buying only the ingredients you need will also save you money in the long-run. Trust me on this one!
2. When you get home from the store, place all groceries on the counter (out of the reach of children).
3. Before putting any of your groceries away, clean out any food that has gone bad. We are talking prevention here. You know when you clean your room but a few days later find yourself in a rush and leave a few shirts on your bed – only to notice later on that your few shirts turned into the rest of your closet? Your fridge is the same way. Keeping it clean and making an effort to organize your fridge the minute you get home from the store sets the tone for the rest of your week.
4. Wash fruits and vegetables and place in individual containers so they are “ready-to-eat” during the week, or place in separate bags to go into your fruit and vegetable compartments. First, produce lasts much longer when it is washed and separated. Secondly, You’ll be able to take your fruits and veggies out when your kids are hungry and won’t find yourself standing at the sink trying to quickly wash a grape or peel an orange when your in the middle of doing something else. Example: Take grapes off the vine; wash strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries; wash apples and place them in a bag or container by themselves; peel your oranges, put carrots in a container with water.
5. Look at your menu list and prep foods that can be prepared in advance. Waffle and muffin batter, salsa, hummus, home-made yogurt, chopped veggies for stir fry, and nut milks, are a few of the things prepared right now in my fridge. Instead of spending 30 minutes (45 if you count the interruptions I’d have) in the morning making waffles, I spend three minutes heating my batter up in a waffle iron.
I am more likely to cook healthy when I have healthy ingredients in my fridge, a meal plan, and prepped meals. Hopefully these tips will help you too! Happy prepping everyone!