Recently I have been feeling overwhelmed and consequently, have not been doing as much as I need to. Oh, I take care of the garden and begrudgingly mow the lawn, but the indoor chores tend to slide more often. Even with food coming in every week with my CSA box in addition to my supplies from the monthly grocery shopping trip, I have not been cooking or creating meals from scratch. My lunches are sandwiches or a frozen entree, my dinners are as simple as possible (and tend to dip into the chips and dip area more often than not). What are the consequences of this neglect of my more frugal moves?
Prepackaged foods whether a frozen lunch entree or deli sliced meat will add cost to each meal. While these options are less expensive than a lunch purchased at work, the cost is lower taking leftovers to to work for lunch than preparing a lunch every morning (and usually a bit quicker).
I am especially guilty of this regarding my CSA box. Much of the reason all of it does not end up in the compost bin is because I give it away. Many of the greens do not get me excited, radishes are not my thing and I am not enthusiastic about eating lettuce and spinach. Since I am not cooking as much, I tend not to experiment with some of the items I receive and they are relocated to make compost rather than feed me. This is not the best use of my locally grown produce.
In addition, I have also thawed meat that sat too long in the refrigerator before I remembered I was intending on making meatballs or some other dish. This is expensive and wasteful.
Despite my vow to eat healthier and exercise more, I have reverted to old habits rather than adopting new ones. Many prepackaged foods have more fat and sodium than recommended, and may lack many nutrients needed by the body. Decreasing my bottom line and adding to my rear does not help me get closer to my goals.
So, what can I do to rectify this? First, I need to organize my kitchen (messiness is always a barrier to cooking) and choose a recipe to make. With my time and energy constraints, finding something to cook can be a challenge, but trying something new is fun as well. I plan to look up recipes the night before and get out items to thaw if needed. With an organized kitchen and recipe in hand, I will cook the meal (hoping there are leftovers for one more meal, lunch or dinner the next day).
If there is a weekend looming, cooking can be made an even higher priority. I usually have more time available so cooking long-simmering sauces or dealing with multiple preparation steps are less onerous. Making a list is important so I will have to decide what to make and post the resulting list in a prominent location.
The hardest part: not stopping by the store for the craved chips or sweets. By making a vow to only eat something I have made and supplying myself with a variety of items to eat, I lessen temptation and improve both my diet and my financial bottom line. Making time for cooking will only help me keep within my spending plan rather than exceeding it.
Do you have similar food challenges?