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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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