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Meal Planning Challenge: Healthy Grocery Shopping Once A Month

Meal Planning Challenge: Healthy Grocery Shopping Once A Month

“These days, my idea of living dangerously is going grocery shopping without a list”– Anonymous 

Grocery shopping once a month seems impossible. But with some strategic planning, everything can be possible.

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We are busy, we are tired, and to not go to the store 1 to 2 times a week could really give us some extra time for things that matter. And this is how…

Planning Produce Purchases

This one is tricky since things are perishable. You may have to make a couple of quick “cheat” stops purely due to the logistics of how long things keep. However below is the list for the large trip:

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  • Fruit for snacking (amount dependent on how much your family will eat prior to it going bad)
  • Frozen green beans (if your family enjoys them, stock up on sale)
  • Salad stuff and veggies. Now here is the trick: when planning meals you are going to do the fresh vegetables first. The meals toward the end of the month are probably going to come primarily from your frozen vegetable stash.
  • Produce required for any of the meal plans for the first half of the month. (You are going to make that cheat trip mid-month, so the second half of the month can be planned for separately.)

Lists and Local Bloggers

Find a blogger that lives near to you that lists local ads and deals. I honestly never thought of looking into that, but I have been too intimidated to coupon very much on my own when grocery shopping. This could really help me (and hopefully you.)

Then after finding all of these deals sit down to make your master list. If you shop places that price match then on your master list include the price that you are price matching for and the information that will help the cashier perform that the easiest. If you have the master list not only will it help your shopping, but it helps with your meal planning around the sales for that month.

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Cooking Calendar Creation

Print out or get a calendar with enough blank area to write in meals. Now depending on how busy your family is you may want to pull out the calendar of family activities also. This will give you a little bit of insight into how much time you will have for cooking each day. If there are leftovers, you may only need to cook 4 nights a week and have leftovers other days. Try to plan leftover nights for when the kids have sports etc.

Purchasing Necessary Ingredients

Planning ahead with the calendar allows you to look at the things you will need for the week. You can plan meals that contain like ingredients, so you don’t end up being wasteful.

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Extra Edibles and Essentials

Planning for toiletries, snack foods and milk can be challenging. This is how this can be cleared up:

  • Consider freezing milk. If you know you go through a gallon a week, get 4 gallons and freeze three.
  • Consider doing the same for cheese. Stock up and save.
  • Try purchasing one large snack package for the month. For example a large pretzel package. Eat it and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Depending on how big your family is and the pickiness level there, you may need to have more than one option.
  • Buy several boxes of the cereal that is on sale that week.
  • Check toiletries stock before going to see how much you should purchase.

Make Your List According to The Layout of The Land

Take your list and organize it according to the sections in the store. This will help you avoid running back and forth through the store and make the most of your time.

For further tips please check out this site.

Featured photo credit: Flickr/Happy Worker via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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