Well, I jinxed myself. This always happens— I tell someone how great I have been doing and how I can now eat whatever without any reactions…and then the next day I have a reaction. Last week my hand was swollen for the first time in a loooong time with no apparent trigger, which is very frustrating. It’s gone now, thank goodness, but the whole thing got me thinking and I thought I would share to gain some accountability.
I have a friend who likes to declare “today is January 1!” meaning you don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year–you can start new any day you want. I LOVE it! We’re also entering a time of transition (new house, new season, new foods for the little guy!), which is my favorite time to start fresh. So here goes nothing—my NEW resolutions…
The more I evaluated my list, the more I realized they are all a little inter-related, but can basically be broken down into three categories, which align with my current duties as a stay at home wifey and mama:
Purchase and prepare healthy food for our family
Manage our household budget well
Help others along their journey
I thought I would share a few of my specific goals and how I plan to achieve them:
Drink more water and less coffee (personal goal AND money saver!)
No more coffee dates with myself or rewards for things like making it through a trip to Costco. I also need to get out the ol’ reusable water bottle so I can track my intake because it has been seriously lacking lately!
Eat Less Conventional Dairy (money saver!)
Purchase raw milk to make into yogurt and ice cream, and leave all the other dairy items out of my shopping cart.
Eat Less Meat (money saver!)
I’ve been trying to prepare at least one vegetarian meal a week and cook more stir fries and soups that don’t focus on meat as the main portion of the meal. This helps with our grocery budget as well.
Eat more organic foods
Even though I know I should be buying organic, sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow it. But ever since our son started eating solids, I have made sure all his foods are organic, and have been better about prioritizing around the dirty dozen. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see that many of the organic foods are actually comparably priced to conventional.
My grocery shopping patterns have changed a bit, with a once a month trip to my usual store to buy spices and staples from the bulk section, weekly trips to Fred Meyer to take advantage of their organic section and pastured eggs, and trips to Costco about every 10 days to get our usual organic produce items.
Eat more veggies
Since we are moving in a few weeks, I decided to hold off on planting a garden this year. I am guessing we may need a deer fence, plus I learned my lesson the first time around when I didn’t plant in an area with enough sun exposure. I’m going to give myself a year to scope things out. Instead we signed up for a vegetable subscription service from a local farm for this summer and I am SO excited—they also have a special baby food package for our little guy so he will be getting fresh, local, organic veggies.
Buy meat from local farmer (chicken, beef, SOME pork)
I’m a member of the Inland Northwest Food Network, and one of the benefits is being able to purchase directly from local farmers. I haven’t taken advantage of this yet…mostly because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with say, a dozen whole chickens. So I decided to take a knife skills class through the INWFN, and one of the things they taught us was how to butcher a chicken! Even though this may not necessarily save money, it will be higher quality meat, and I am super excited because buying meat in bulk makes meal planning and grocery shopping so much easier!
Up my bone broth intake (money saver!)
My baby loves bone broth, which helps keep me accountable for making and drinking it, too. When I get into a regular routine with my broth, it actually replaces coffee as my morning pick-me-up. That will be much needed since I am trying to kick the coffee habit! And buying high quality meat from local farmers will mean lots of high quality bones to turn into broth! Side note: I saw a tiny package of “bone broth” being sold at the grocery store today for almost $6!! That just seems crazy since it is so easy and basically free to make it from scratch.
Make a list of our go-to meals for each season (money saver!)
Transitioning to a new season (and the foods that come with it) always throws me for a loop, and leaves me asking my husband “what did we eat last year?” Neither of us can remember so it usually takes me a couple weeks to get back in the swing of things. I think having a list of easy meals, separated by season, would be very helpful for my meal planning! And since produce that is in season tends to be cheaper, this one can be filed under “money saver” as well (I’m seeing a pattern here…)
Be better about sticking to my meal plan (money saver!)
Planning our menu for the week is one of my favorite activities, but I have a bad habit of changing things up or making impulse purchases once I get to the grocery store. Last week we had so much food in the refrigerator that several things went bad before we could eat them and it made me very very sad (R.I.P. 2 lbs of organic strawberries). Not only will sticking to the meal plan and grocery list eliminate food waste and help the budget, it will also make it less overwhelming when we open the fridge.
Invest in quality kitchen tools and skills
Before I registered for that knife skills class, I wondered if the $25 class fee would be worth it. My answer: DEFINITELY! I am excited to take more classes that will help me learn to cook seasonally and preserve foods. I’ve also decided that I need to invest in a quality set of knives that will allow me to be more efficient and proficient in the kitchen. Moving will provide me a great opportunity to inventory my kitchen appliances and gadgets and decide what to keep, get rid of, and new items that I may want to invest in. Although there are some upfront expenses, in the long run they will allow me to save money (by buying whole chickens and items in bulk to be preserved, fermented, etc.).
Resurrect “Meal Planning Mondays” with more recipes
I get a lot of questions from friends and family about recipes and tips to help them eat healthier, which I LOVE! I recently realized that however inspiring, just posting a picture of my dinner on Instagram probably doesn’t provide much practical help. So I’m going to resurrect my Meal Planning Mondays series and hopefully include more recipes so that you can try these yummy meals too! If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them!
Start thinking about becoming a health coach
I guess technically I’ve already started thinking about this, but I plan to look into it more–ask others who are in this field about their experience, research programs, and decide if it is something I want to pursue. If so I will need to save some money so I can make it a reality!
Do you have any goals you’ve been putting off? Maybe it’s time to declare today January 1st!