I don’t know about you, but stalking Refinery 29’s Money Diaries has made me realize how much money I spend on eating out, buying coffee, and picking up random snacks during the day. While most of my choices are nutritious, it’s not healthy for my wallet.
I’ve found that the easiest way to cut back on money spent on food and drink is meal planning. Since we moved in June, Mike and I have done a great job of pulling together a loose weekly meal plan to keep our grocery list focused. Having a plan and the food needed encourages us to pack our breakfasts (I catch the bus around 7AM so I don’t eat before I leave), lunches, and pre-workout snacks.
For breakfasts, I keep a variety of frozen things that I can quickly pop in Tupperware and throw in my lunch bag, like frozen multi-grain waffles or English Muffins. Paired with the peanut butter I always have in my desk and a piece of fruit, it’s a super easy way to avoid the many breakfast carts scattered around campus.
Lunches lately have been sandwiches on low-carb wraps, but I made a big pot of chili yesterday for football so we portioned the rest out into single-servings for the remainder of the week. Crock pots for the win! I will throw in some veggies and hummus as well as some tortilla chips to keep myself satisfied.
Snacks for this week are Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix, which I keep in my desk 24/7. It’s not my favorite trail mix (there’s no chocolate in it), but it keeps me from mindlessly snacking when I should just have a glass of water instead.
Dinners are a little different this week since we have zero meat in the freezer…the world was my oyster when it came to a menu!
Here’s what we decided on…
Monday: Going out to dinner…it’s my running group’s 1-year anniversary party at the local brewery!
Thursday: Leftover Chicken Primavera & pasta
Friday: Turkey burgers, vegetables, and potatoes on the grill (Great pre-race meal as I’m running a 10K on Saturday morning!)
Saturday: Going out to dinner
Sunday: “Make Your Own Pizza” and salads (Trader Joe’s has the BEST pre-made crust)
I try to stay on track during the week, but life happens and you might not feel like making your Chicken Primavera if you don’t get home from work until later in the evening. In situations like that, Mike and I have some frozen pizzas in the fridge that we can quickly pop in the oven. No, it’s not the most nutritious option, but it is important to cut yourself some slack. Not every meal is going to be well-balanced and homemade!