Healthy You Update I've become a big fan of the Core Plan. So, we're continuing to stick to Core, at least for the time being. This week, I'm down another 1.2 pounds. Thomas is down 2.6. (Sneaky bastard, he's getting ahead of me again!)
In order to feed my family, I'm having to take a huge leap as far as planning in advance goes, which has in turn cut away a lot of the excess food that tends to accumulate in my refrigerator. I've been a terrible packrat about food for a long time; since I was able to afford to do so. My later years in college were pretty tight, financially, and there were weeks that all I ate was rice, cheese, tomato and ground beef (keep in mind, during the early 90's, tomatoes were cheap. They aren't now.) Ever since then, I have had - as my friend Carol would say - enough food in the house to feed a small army.
Which is really not necessary... there's no reason to have more than a week's worth of food on hand at any time. I don't need 8 packages of backup ramen. I don't eat it if I can possibly manage to avoid it, and we're not so poor as it's likely that I'll be forced to consume them or starve.
On Tuesdays, I go through the fridge and check out what's still in there. Are there leftovers that are getting dubious? Fruits that are spoiling? I clear out the excess - not that there's often much, since I tend to send leftovers to work with Thomas as his lunch, as well as eat them myself for lunch. Tuesday evening, dinner is whatever leftovers are getting close to going off, so we can waste as little food as possible.
Wednesday, I sit down and plan dinners for the week. I usually use a pattern like this: one fish dish, one steak or veal dish, three chicken dishes, one vegetarian thing, and one night of leftovers or going out. Once I've decided what sort of meats we're eating, I go through and select recipes. For example, this past week's menu looked something like this:
Wednesday 96% fat free hamburgers with leftover chili
Thursday tuna steaks over sauteed vegetables
Friday whole wheat spaghetti and organic sauce, salad, and rolls
Saturday out to eat (sirloin and salad bar for me)
Sunday General Tso's Chicken, brown rice
Monday sirloin steaks, barley & mushrooms, mixed vegetables
Tuesday chicken with caramelized onions, ginger-glazed carrots
Once I have the menu put together, I check my supplies to see what I already have. From that, I make my list based on what I'll need to cook the rest of my recipes. I check my herbs and spices to see if I'm running low on anything, ditto with sauces and dressings. How're my basic staples? Soup? Cereal, rice, barley? What have I got for fruits and vegetables? I always need more of these, we're eating so much fresh fruit and veggies recently. I've figured out that we need approximately two bunches of bananas, 8-10 apples, one package of grapes, one package of strawberries, 3 roma tomatoes, 2 - 3 onions, 1-2 avocados, 1 bell pepper, a bag of pre-cut lettuce (I'm still too lazy to cut my own salad lettuce...), and a bag of baby carrots. Per Week. And generally I get 2 packages of frozen veggies. I keep economy sized bags of frozen peas and corn in the freezer, but I also like to keep those mixed bags of broccoli and cauliflower on hand.
After I'm done checking over and writing down foods, I check the rest of the house. Toilet paper? Check. Dishwasher tabs? Running low. Trash bags? Laundry soap?
I write up my list based on where things are in the store. I've been through that store so many times that I pretty much know what order the aisles are in. I leave plenty of space on the right side of my list, in case I forget something, so I can jot it on the side near the related foods.
After my list is done, I check my coupon caddy. Do I have any coupons that will go with anything I'm buying. I paper clip these to my list. And then, I'm ready to go to the grocery store.