Healthy planning in a crunch

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    I admit that planning for healthy eating is a big challenge when you’re a full time student working two part time jobs, and co-raising three teenagers. When my kids are at my house alternating weeks, I’m quite certain I have purchased enough groceries to feed everyone for an entire week. A couple days later, however, I find myself running back to the store with another shopping list and coupons in hand. And meal planning? On the busiest nights, I hope the kids will eat leftovers … sometimes to discover they already ate them?!

It is SO helpful having a daughter old enough to cook simple recipes now!!

    During my “alone” weeks, I don’t cook a lot because it would mean I’d consume the same food over and over again. For. The. Entire. Week.  

The daycare/preschool where I work includes employees within their lunches and snacks, so I don’t usually think to pack any food with me for my college classes that are before or after work. That said, my classes are sometimes in the middle of the day or right at dinner time (the evening meal). I often carry snacks of almonds and dried cranberries with me so that I’ll always have something on hand and won’t be tempted to try out the vending machines on campus. My water bottle accompanies me everywhere I go, as I attempt to increase my water intake.  6-8 glasses of water a day seems like an awful lot when there’s other things to accomplish in life. I have discovered it’s helpful keeping the water bottle nearby to serve as a reminder.

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    Ok, so when do I find the time to plan for healthy food planning? I often create a shopping list based on my coupons, and I rely on old favorite recipes or visit Pinterest for ideas.  Life is very unpredictable, and I have learned that flexibility is the key for survival while trying to keep your head above water. Yes, having tacos, pasta, and enchiladas within one week is acceptable.  Having your children help with the cooking is an amazing experience. They get to practice some valuable life skills while you get to rush off to class! Or to work! 😉 Seriously, take some time during the weekend to cook alongside your children, and let them know what the next week’s schedule looks like.  Everyone in the family appreciates knowing what to expect.

    Google calendar is great for planning meals! Depending on how often you tire of certain recipe’s, you may schedule each meal to repeat in a specified number of weeks. The only problem I have had with this method is changing family and school schedules that mess up predetermined meal plans. So, remember to be flexible and periodically update your Google calendar to reflect scheduling changes.

Here is a tutorial that will help you to set up your own Google calendar. Everything from meal planning to school schedules can be added to one household calendar for everyone to access! 🙂

Next up…I plan to share where I love to grocery shop the most, along with a couple of my favorite recipes.   🙂

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