Ready for a post with photos of groceries that directly contradict the message in the post? Okay, then. Here we go!
Oftentimes when talking about changing eating habits, I’ll hear people say, “I just can’t help myself!”
I get that. There are all sorts of foods and drinks that I may mindlessly eat or really enjoy eating if it’s in front of me. I’ve also found myself eating junk just because it’s there and then wondering why on earth I did that! One of my favorite strategies for better eating? Out of sight, out of mind.
If you don’t want to eat it, don’t keep it in your house!
“I can’t keep the kids out of the cookies!” Well, then, don’t have cookies in the house.
“My kids aren’t making good snack choices.” Well, then, have only good snack choices available.
We complicate this real food thing. Simply keeping good for you food in the house always and bad for you food in the house rarely would solve a lot of problems (says the girl who has to drive 20 minutes to grab something she “needs.”) What’s available to eat in your kitchen?
Create a menu plan, including snacks, and have only those foods available.
No need to torture anyone with beets and swiss chard if that’s not your thing, but do make the effort to plan your meals, ensuring plenty of fruits and veggies will be added. Then, stick to that plan. Have those good for you foods available. Might there be whining for candy and cookies? There might, but there’s no temptation to give in if the food isn’t there.
And about that gallon bucket of ice cream in the freezer? Maybe go for the quart next time.
Grab and Go with good for you snacks.
We like what’s easy and convenient, yes? Make that work to your advantage. Keep washed and sliced fruits and veggies front and center in the fridge. The kids will grab what’s handy. I will grab what’s handy. I’ve long said I truly enjoy a big salad for lunch, but it’s such a pain to make that salad every day. If everything was washed, chopped, cooked, and crumbled (mmmm, bacon!) it would be easier for me to toss that salad together, and I would likely do it more often.
Make just a small amount of sweets and treats.
I like to bulk bake as much as anyone, but if there are 3 dozen cookies on my kitchen counter, you can bet they haven’t been there more than a day. We eat what’s available, especially if it’s a treat! One thing that works well for me is to stash all extra baked goods in my freezer. In the basement. Out of sight, out of mind.
If I’m making cookies, I’ll scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet, freeze it, then store those frozen cookie balls in a ziplock in the freezer. That way I have some “convenience food” to pop in the oven if we need it, and when we do indulge in a cookie, it’s fresh. (Because really? Fresh out of the oven is the only way to eat a cookie.)
Hide the junk.
It’s one thing to stash a few convenience items for _________ days (rough, busy, sick, whatever). It’s an entirely different thing to stash them at full price. Who wants to do that??? (Not me!) Don’t stress about the boxes or cans that you grab on sale to rely on once in a while.
I do find, though, that the box of cereal is much more tempting to use when we don’t need to if it’s in my kitchen. When I snag a deal on fun or convenience food, I try to stash it in the basement, either on my pantry shelves or in the freezer. Less temptation on a daily basis, but security in knowing we have it for a crazy day.
Don’t buy it.
If you know you shouldn’t cook with canola oil, don’t buy it. If you know margarine isn’t good for you, don’t buy it. If your goal is to eliminate refined sugar, don’t buy refined sugar.
I was stubborn with this one, keeping one container of canola “just in case” for quite a long time. And I kept having to by another “just in case” bottle sooner than I’d hoped. When I quit buying it completely? I rarely missed it, and I learned healthier substitutions with butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.
While there is certainly a learning curve with some real food topics, I’m a firm believer we are making this more difficult than it needs to be. Keep the bad stuff out of reach and the good stuff handy. Easy enough, right? How do you keep temptations away?
Ah, so proud to show you my junk food purchases this week. ;) Here’s how the shopping went down:
Dollar General: $5.67 ~ oatmeal cream pies and swiss rolls for our son’s soccer team snacks
Alco: $2.16 ~mad dash for more swiss rolls and peanut butter bars between games, because our daughter’s team didn’t have snacks so they used part of our snacks for the son’s team ~ shew! no-snack travesty averted
Dollar Tree: $10.70 ~ This was my first ever visit to the Dollar Tree, and let’s just say it’s probably a good thing that the store is located over an hour away from my home. I grabbed animal crackers for my kindergartner to take for class snacks, pretzels for strawberry pretzel dessert, chocolate sandwich cookies so I can make dirt cups for my oldest’s birthday treats at school, 2 packages tortillas, and three loaves of bread (100% whole grain, no HFCS)
Dillons: $12.64 ~ sour cream, ranch dip, bananas, oranges, romaine (Funny story. I was in the living room. Hadn’t put the groceries away yet. Heard commotion in the kitchen. Investigated, and saw the 2yo with the fridge door open. “What are you doing?” “I’m putting the oranges away!” Ha! He had a bag of them put in the correct drawer before I ever snapped a photo. Glad someone’s on the ball around here.)
Walmart: $15.89 ~ soy sauce (Yes, I know. bad! Should try liquid aminos. Have you tried it?) peanut butter, cumin, dried cranberries
Total this week: $47.06
(I forgot to add 10 pounds of carrots that I split with a friend in my last Azure order. That was $12.50.)
Total for April: $434.21 (We’ll talk more about budgeting later, but let me just say it now… do not compare your numbers with anyone but yourself. There are far too many factors and variables that go into buying food. You’ll likely make yourself feel overly accomplished or terribly inferior for.no.reason. Stop it!)