Guest Post: Alicia Rockmore, co-founder of Get Buttoned Up and co-author of ‘Everything (almost) In Its Place,’ shares her pearls of wisdom.

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.