I promise that the title is the only cliche in this post. I’ve been wanting to write about simplifying food for a long time, but I felt I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to write about something I wasn’t even good at myself (or at the time, even trying to be good at). Then today, as I made a lunch that would have made the inventor of the food pyramid weep with joy, I realized I was finally felt ready. When I looked back through my pictures to find some to post, I realized I’ve had this on the brain for a while.
I’m still at the beginning of this food journey, but I can share with you all some things that have helped me.
1. Run out of money to eat out. Just kidding. But this really helped. When we realized just how much money we were spending eating out, we cringed and vowed to change our ways.
2. Figure out what you will truly eat. So many times we think that if we eat at home, it has to be perfect, organic, fresh food. The truth is you should buy what you eat. This last trip for us was mostly fresh food, but there have been many a grocery trip where we brought home bags and bags of canned soup, because that is what we were eating; occasionally, I won’t leave the store until I’ve found the kind of chocolate I want to eat that week.
3. Decide the best time to shop. One of the reasons we stopped eating at home is because we couldn’t find the time to get to the grocery store. If you make shopping a weekly or biweekly habit, it’s harder to run out of food and harder to find excuses to not go.
4. Make a list. It’s never a great idea to meander around the grocery store pulling things off the shelf if they look good. You’ll end up with a cart full of Little Debbie and you’ll forget to pick up the roast for Sunday dinner. Always make a semblance of a list, preferably while you are in your kitchen looking at what you have and what you don’t—though I’ll confess to lists written in the produce section that grow suspiciously longer when I get to the candy aisle.
5. Meal plan. Lately, we’ve been recreating meals from our favorite restaurants (like a delicious bratwurst with fried potatoes to replace the expensive delicatessen I like to frequent), but plotting out some sort of food map seems like the next best step. Knowing ahead of time what meals you want to make and by which night you need the ingredients takes out the guess work in the creative department. It’s always good to be flexible, but you don’t want the 4 o’clock “Oh, yeah. What’s for dinner?” conundrum.