Imagine coming home from work to a long mahogany table set with fine china and sparkling crystal. A rainbow assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables and a steaming hot entrée greet your senses. Can you smell the roast beast? Of course, your servants pour you a cold beverage before you join your impeccably-dressed, well-mannered children at the table. You eat a healthy, balanced, gourmet meal before you retire to the study while somebody else does the dishes. Aaaaahhh. Time to wake up!
Sure, in my fairy tale world, I’d have a fancy, three-course gourmet meal served on fine china. But in reality, some days it’s tacos on a paper plate. That’s REAL LIFE for this mom. This mom has a hubby and three teenagers to feed. I also have a passion for feeding them well. To me this does not mean fairy tale perfection, but does mean making the effort to serve nutritionally balanced meals and healthy snacks. Unfortunately, I do not have staff (or a royal budget) to handle this. I am the staff and it takes a little bit of planning to make this food fairly tale a reality.
In order to accomplish this and keep my sanity, I try to stay organized and plan ahead for upcoming meals. I find we eat healthier if we have a weekly menu plan. I usually start by reviewing the Coborn’s flyer in the Sunday paper and base our meals on what is on sale for the week. I do like to save a buck! I have found it is possible to eat healthy on a budget.
Coborn’s has another tool in their stores that really helps us eat better and get more bang for our buck. The NuVal nutritional scoring system, available in all Coborn’s stores, factors in over 30 nutritional components and assigns foods a score between 1-100. The higher the score—the better the nutrition. I love this, tool! After all, who has time to sit and scour the nutritional panel for each product? NuVal does that for me. All I do is glance at the NuVal score on the shelf tag to help me decide which product is a better choice for my family. It’s that easy.
They even include some NuVal scores in their weekly ads.
After checking out the sales of the week and paging through a couple of my tried-and-true cookbooks, I start my grocery list. I find having a list, a plan-of-attack, for the store keeps me on track and prevents me from filling my cart with less nutritious extras. Planning ahead also saves time. I can make one or two weekly visits to Coborn’s instead of daily ones. That leaves more time to cook and eat with my family.
We have a small chalkboard on the door of our pantry. That is where I write down the menu plan for the week. At a glance, I know if I need to plug in the crockpot or thaw some meat before heading out for the day. It keeps me organized and on track.
As you can see, this week chicken breasts and beef roasts are on sale as well as broccoli, lettuce and taco fixin’s. We’ll have sautéed chicken breasts on Monday with family favorite chicken lettuce wraps on Thursday. And, a build-your-own taco bar is a great way to start the weekend. Tacos are princess (ok, teenager) and budget-friendly.
By taking a few minutes on Sunday afternoons to plan our weekly menu, I am able to reduce my stress and increase our bottom line as well as our nutrition. While it might not meet up to my fairy tale ideal, it sure does help my reality. Now…where did I put my tiara?
Until next time, dream big and eat well!
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