Has this ever happened to you?
You think to yourself, “I’m hungry. I should make something to eat.”
You look in the cupboards and respond, “There’s nothing here to eat!”
You weigh your options, “I could drive 10 minutes to the grocery store and buy some fresh foods to cook up a nice, healthy meal from scratch…”
You pick up the phone and order a large pizza instead.
If this has happened before, you are probably your average single guy who normally cooks for just one. Without certain priorities, like caring & cooking for a family, single guys will normally purchase foods or cook meals without putting much thought or planning into it. And, what typically happens is evident, as we saw above.
The practice of impulse purchasing and eating can wreak havoc on our bodies; and, ultimately, our health.
There is a simple solution…Shop once & Eat healthy for the week!
Note: Before you even start thinking about this task, pick a day that you know you have a couple hours to spare. Many people choose a day on the weekend to get everything done for the entire week.
To get the process started, you need to have a plan in place. Grab a pen and a notepad and write down 5 – 10 ideas for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks (see example below). Aim to make each meal a well-balanced meal. That means including 3 of the 4 food groups with each meal (snacks are only 1 or 2 food groups). Visit CFC’s recipe page for some simple, healthy recipes and snack ideas. The recipes contain detailed nutrient information per serving. Many can be found by clicking on searchable categories for lower fat, lower sugar, lower sodium and higher fibre. Be sure to categorize the foods into groups (produce, grains, milks, meats, others) and start to generate a grocery list.
- Breakfast – Granola, low-fat yogurt, fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- Lunch – Chicken stir-fry with vegetables, brown rice (or quinoa) and a side spinach salad
- Supper – Homemade vegetarian (or chicken) chilli with a whole-wheat roll
Next, assess your kitchen. Take a look through your refrigerator, cupboards & pantry. Check off the items on your list that you already have in your home. Review your Pantry Staples list. Click here for itemized ideas and finish off your grocery list.
Now, head to the grocery store and do your shopping for the week!
Once you return home with your groceries, take the time to unpack, sort and store your foods. With your produce, cut up some fruits and vegetables and store them in containers in the fridge. This makes it easier to prepare your meals during the week, such as smoothies and salads. With your grains, store them in your pantry, fridge or freezer to maintain freshness. Your meats can be portioned out and stored in the amounts needed to make your immediate (within 3 days) meals or frozen as individual servings for later in the week.
For even more convenience during the week, cook up some of your meals ahead of time. Try making a pasta sauce or chili that can be frozen and used any time of the week. Prepare a batch of brown rice or quinoa that can be stored in small and portable containers in the fridge. Cook some lean chicken breasts and slice thinly for sandwiches or wraps.
The key to eating healthy on your own is to plan ahead. Generate a list of staple foods and shop for those items once a week. For convenience, prepare and store these items ahead of time. Finally, plan a week of meals and snacks. Make every day look a little bit different. If you can get into a good routine, you’ll find yourself ordering take-out less often, which can benefit both your health and your wallet!
Contributor: Luke Corey, BA(H), BScAHN, Registered Dietitian