I don’t know about you, but the most frequently asked question in my house is “Mom, what’s for dinner??”. My response to this and any food related questions varies from day to day, but I do like to keep it interesting. Luckily, my kids and husband are all pretty down for trying just about anything I cook. Of course, I have my go-to dishes, but I also love trying new things. I have done extensive (ahem) “research” on Food Network and while reading numerous cookbooks and recipes.
With our busy family life, I’ve had to figure out a sort of routine when it comes to meal preparation. Take out or eating out had been a mainstay in our house for a long time due to the fact that we are lazy sometimes. Yup, I admit it. We all need a break sometimes…in our case…two to three times a week! Yikes!!! I love being in my kitchen to cook but somedays I looked in my fridge and was absolutely dumfounded by the lack of food items that “go together”. I thought to myself, how can I make strawberries, cucumbers, leftover chicken, eggs and almond milk work? They don’t work, so let’s go out to eat! That was happening way too often and it was taking a toll on our wallet and our waistlines. I had no grocery shopping schedule or plan. A typical grocery shopping trip went something like this…we wandered through the aisles and asked each other what we wanted to eat and haphazardly grabbed items with no real plan.
In the last year, we have become much more intentional about our grocery shopping habits. I’ll share some easy tips that have helped us to stay on track with our eating habits.
Pick some simple Go-To dishes that you can whip up on the fly
For me, I always have eggs, some kind of veggie, and starch in my pantry. In my upbringing, eggs can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chinese people cook a dish called Egg Fu Yung which is basically an omelette with various savory vegetables stir fried in. My kids love it, especially with lots of bean sprouts, its fast and nutritious if I pack in a lot of veggies. I like to add carrots, onions, green onions, bean sprouts and green beans. Simple seasoning of salt and pepper tops it off.
Plan some basic meals for the week
If you have an idea of what you’ll be cooking for the week, you can buy your groceries accordingly. I say “basic” because you can always tweak flavors or combinations based on your family’s preferences. For example, if I plan on cooking a baked chicken dish, I can vary it by using ranch powder, shoyu, or just salt and pepper. All of these seasonings are staples in my house. This way my family never really gets bored. I use this principle with all my dishes.
Build a shopping list
This one may sound obvious, but it is an important component in our household. It helps to keep the unnecessary purchases to a minimum and we tend to stay on budget. I base my list on my meals that I have planned for the week. I don’t have a specific “shopping” day because frankly that’s way too routine for me. I like to change things up and leave room for spontaneity and flexibility. When I go shopping, I try to buy enough to last a week. Of course, some foods may overlap into the next week’s meals and some may run out faster, like the 2 lb tub of strawberries that my daughters devour in a day or two.
These are a just a few quick, easy tips that I use to keep us on track in our household. Hope this was helpful! I’ll be sharing some recipes and other food-related tips in Monday Munchies each Monday!