Guest Post: Alicia Rockmore, co-founder of Get Buttoned Up and co-author of ‘Everything (almost) In Its Place,’ shares her pearls of wisdom.
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Eating right isn’t easy, especially when you have kids who can mow down every candy, cupcake, pizza, and burger in site without skipping a beat.

That’s not to say that you only feed your kids junk, but that you’ve probably been known to eat their leftover mac-n-cheese or the extra chicken nuggets more often than not.

Even if you pack lunches for them during the school year, the cost of food and the unhealthy options are everywhere, taunting time crunched and stressed parents everywhere. Fear not, because with a little planning and simple habits, you can provide healthy, economical, tasty choices for your family year round.

A Week of Eating In
It’s so easy to settle for eating out. You don’t have to cook. It’s fast. And, even better, there’s no dishes to clean! But it’s also expensive, and far less healthy. Try scheduling a whole week of meals at home, so when you do go out to eat, it becomes a special occasion. On Sunday, plan ahead for the week, setting easy-to-make meals and buying the groceries you’ll need ahead of time. You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save, plus you’ll get to spend more time with your family.

Fresh and Frugal
Buying fresh, unprocessed food is not only better for your waist, it’s better for your wallet as well. The best bet for getting the freshest food is to find a local farmer’s market (a apple or peach orchard anyone?), where you can get in-season fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh meat and cheese. If you can’t find one, head to your local grocery store and begin shopping the perimeter of the store. Fill your cart with fruits, vegetables, and meats (lean options like poultry and fish are best). Remember that the inner aisles are filled with processed foods, which tend to be more expensive as well.

Here are three ways to eat better, and save bigger all summer long.

#1: Double Up
Make Breakfast for tomorrow while you make Dinner tonight! Cut up fresh fruit, slice the bagel, portion your cereal, whatever you have to do to ensure you don’t make excuses in the morning for grabbing a giant muffin at the coffee shop because you “didn’t have time for breakfast”

#2: Everyone picks a meal
“Oh, no! Chicken and rice again!” We’ve all heard it, and back in the day, we said it as well. To avoid mealtime showdowns, get everyone together at the beginning of the week and let people choose a meal or two that they want for the upcoming week. That way, there’s no surprises, and, when it comes to “their meal,” the person in charge can help prepare the food. It’s a great way to lighten your load, while keeping everyone content to be eating at home with the family.

#3: Grocery lists
If you go to the grocery store and grab whatever you feel like, you’ll find that you often choose foods that aren’t the healthiest, and you may end up forgetting those foods that are needed to prepare your meals for the week. By preparing a shopping list ahead of time, with the specific ingredients for every meal, as well as special requests from different family members, you can eliminate extra trips to the store, and avoid getting food you don’t really need.

Alicia Rockmore is one of the co-founders of Buttoned Up, Inc., a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized and a co-author (along with Sarah Welch) of “Everything (almost) In Its Place.”  Please visit www.getbuttonedup.com and follow them on twitter @getbuttonedup or @rockmore.

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14 Responses to “How Organizing Can Help You Eat Well”

  1. Aimee @ Simple Bites Says:

    I’m a huge planner, with grocery lists and menu plans scribbled everywhere. It has saved the day so many times when the unexpected happens.
    Great post!

  2. Sabera Says:

    I really like this post and relate to it so much! I do most of the things listed above. I use Google docs to make a laundry list of all possible dishes I can make and pick and choose from the list for each week. I also stick to just one trip to the store per week, making sure I optimize what’s in the fridge and pantry. And here I was beginning to think I’m the only control freak of a weekly menu planner!

  3. Sues Says:

    Great advice! Writing a grocery list is definitely the most important thing I do… It saves so much time and money.

  4. stephen Says:

    hehaawwww. so last night, no kidding, I was going to make chicken and rice but at the last minute switched it to a chicken and tasso ham gumbo. I made a huge pot knowing that the good stuff would get scooped out leaving all of that lovely base liquid. so tonight I am flipping it over to crab and shrimp gumbo. and tomorrow night the left over rice will be fried rice for our Japanese meal. coooolio C. good piece.

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  7. Deelish Dish Says:

    Completely true and I need to work on it! Saves money and time and lots of extra work.

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  9. Eleanor Hoh (wokstar) Says:

    Love this post, reflects my philosophy that when you’re organized, mealtimes are a breeze vs a chore. Do a lot of prep ahead. Another tip is to ‘pickle’ your veggies so they don’t spoil. Great to have some yin and yang in every meal. I’m also a huge list maker but like to keep my mind open to buying what’s fresh and seasonal instead of using recipes which tend to lock you down to specific ingredients. This is what I teach my cooking students, they find it very liberating.

  10. Kathie Says:

    Amazing display of tasty goodness! Adding to my must try list NOW!

  11. Roslyn Cooper Says:

    Great advice! I recently started eating healthier (but I am a pastry chef so I can only do so much!). But I think half the battle is the shopping list. I have time to cook but I never seem to have time to just put a simple list together to get enough for the meals for the whole week… seems like such a hassle!

  12. Tracy Says:

    Great tips. Going to the store just once a week is a great time and money saver. Prepping as much as you can on Sunday for the week ahead. It just feels better. We’ll all eat better. There will be less waste. I can’t wait to use up the little bits of this and that hanging out in the fridge tonight (most likely farfalle with mushrooms, asparagus, onion and carrots—we’ll make enough for two nights). Is it dinner yet?

  13. Tim Says:

    Good tips.. A couple more from me.. Do not go food shopping when you are hungry, you will end up with extra unhealthy- high sugar, high fat items in your trolley. Canned pulses- beans, chickpeas, lentils are low in GI, high in fiber and protein and definitely not expensive. Canned tomatoes are actually as much or more nutritious than fresh tomatoes- cooked tomatoes are much better for you than raw as cooking makes tomatoes’ healthy compounds like lycopene easier to absorb.

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