So there you are. It's 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night and you find yourself famished yet again! You cringe at the thought of ordering an Uber Eats because you're really trying to be on the "healthy train." Overtaken by choices, you decide to take the so-called safe route by hopping in the car and heading to your local natural foods store.
As your stomach reveals stranger and stranger noises, you keep telling yourself that you're only a checkout away from consuming a healthy and nutritious meal. But then—you hit your wall. It's now 8:05 p.m. and you've found yourself in the snack aisle at the grocery store. Paleo, gluten-free, and organic claims inundate your brain. You realize that you no longer know what truly qualifies as healthy and what foods you "should" and "shouldn't" be consuming.
You finally make it through the checkout with an $87 bill, while asking yourself "How did that happen?" Loading your grocery items into your trunk you realize you forgot something major: dinner! How on earth did this happen? As you shrug your shoulders in confusion, you realize that you still have snacks in the car so you decide you'll just munch on those instead. Crunching on organic avocado chips and gluten-free granola all the way home, you finally pull up the driveway. As grateful as you are to be back home having had some food in your belly, you come to realize that you're not all that satisfied. Oh well, you mentally tell yourself, tomorrow is another day.
What is one strategy for avoiding this scenario? Become a minimalist in the kitchen! Here's how:
1. Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry.
Look, we've all been there and it's a mildly scary place to be. Don't do it! Eat at home, carry snacks in your car, or even have dinner at the grocery store itself before perusing the aisles. This will save you time, money, and calories!
2. Keep a running list of what you need to buy.
Whether it's handwritten, on an app, or in the notes section of your smartphone, keep a running list of what you need. This will help guide you when you finally do make it to the grocery store. The more you work on developing this habit, the more you'll reach for this list every time you head to the store.
3. Stay organized in your kitchen.
Label your spices, nuts, and seeds with when you purchased them and what they are, if you're buying in bulk. Keep ingredients you use most often up front and others farther back. Create a recurring event in your calendar to clean out your fridge and pantry at least once a month. The more often you do it, the more you'll realize what needs to get tossed and what you have that you can use to create your next flavorful meal. Look at it like going through your closet. Although it may take some discipline, you may be surprised by what you find!
4. Prep your meals.
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again. Meal prepping is one of the best ways to be efficient in your kitchen, on your wallet, and on your environment. A true minimalist gets the most use out of each item, and in the kitchen, it's no different. Prep yourself with things like roasted veggies, hard-boiled eggs (if they're on your diet), homemade trail mixes, fruit, etc. The more you have visibility and easy access, the more likely you are to eat it.