Okay so your New Year's Eve Resolution was to get in shape. You get a gym membership, maybe a Crossfit gym membership (Crossfit 40 http://crossfit40nj.com/index.asp?pageid=106 or Crossfit Solstice www.crossfitsolstice.com : ) And, you head the grocery store. You walk into the veggie aisle and something takes over--probably because it's always freezing in that section---and you buy 38 different kinds of vegetables, some you've never eaten (like fresh lima beans?) and 42 fruits, some tropical or indigenous to places like Cuba (like the apple-pear hybrid).
So, you get home and load it all into the fridge. Alas, you have no plan. By Friday of the following week your fridge stinks and your cleaning it out resentful of those evil vegetables and fruits which have ruined your otherwise relaxing Sunday. Your so overwhelmed with this disaster you end up going to the diner up the street and eating 3,000 Calorie Chicken Nachos (anyone who knows me knows this probably happened to me, because I love the diner's chicken nachos...the diner is gross too..but I don't care, I love them).
Here are some ways to avoid this...
1. HAVE A PLAN
I cannot stress the importance of having a plan for the week and your meals. It's time consuming but it's so worth it! If you go buying everything willy-nilly your A. wasting money B. Taking up valuable space in the super market for those of us who know what we want.
Plan your meals for the week on what I call a neutral day. To me neutral means a day where you already have a meal planned for that day, so nothing on your list is something you need immediately. I plan my meals from Sunday-Sunday--with the exception of the weekend cheat meal (or 2 cheat meals). But I factor in that cheat, maybe for a night I know I won't need dinner because I am going out to dinner. Not that I cheat when I am going out to dinner, but I always factor it in because I like wine, and beer, and...the list goes on.
Look up recipes---like on my blog (shameless plug for my blog), and write down the ingredients you will need for that week ONLY. This will keep you from over spending, over shopping, and stinky rotten food in your refrigerator.
2. CLEAN YOUR REFRIGERATOR OUT ONCE A WEEK
Clean your fridge out once a week--and I am not saying throw away your leftovers from Christmas in July. I am saying get on your hand and knees and clean it with bleach. Take everything out one shelf at a time and scrub. Why do you suggest this crazy lady? is probably what you are saying to yourself (which makes you crazy if you are saying it outloud--to yourself). One, it's nicer to look at--don't be the friend with the dirty fridge. Two, if you look in a clean fridge you can see EVERY single thing in it. Including your leftover's from Olive Garden which you should have never eaten in the first place and need to throw away IMMEDIATELY. Three, this will keep your weekly meals organized and keep you from misplacing ingredients for each meal.
Lastly for me, sometimes I open my fridge just because it's clean. I like the way it smells--which makes me more likely to cook. If your fridge is a natural disaster zone I think your more likely to order out because nothing in it looks appetizing. This might sound insane, but try it.
3. STOP SAVING LEFT OVERS YOU KNOW YOU WON'T EAT
Remember I said I'd talk about leftovers in a later blog. YAYYY IT'S TIME. I admit it, I used to be a leftover hoarder. Hi, my name is Elyse and I hoard leftovers.
See my problem was I'd think I'd eat it the next day for let's say lunch and lunch the next day would come and I'd be like ew no I'm done with that. The problem always was it was just "okay" when I made it the first time so my mind tells me the second time won't fix anything. So...we end up ordering something and wasting money and food. In my case I'll have leftover chicken, won't like the way it smells (maybe I have ADD and a touch of OCD--no judgie), and I'll throw it away.
My suggestion is to find friends who like to eat---I have about 6 and 4 of them are crossfitters. I give my friends my leftovers I kind of liked. Everyone is different so just because you weren't crazy about it doesn't mean someone else isn't. At Crossfit Solstice there is always food in the fridge. All of us girls make things and bring them for other girls or for the boys who can't or won't cook.
So, my suggestion to you is to come up with a network and share. Let's say you make my Mexican Chicken and find it's not to your tastes--which makes you insane, but that's not my problemo----find friends who MIGHT like it and DON'T SAVE LEFTOVERS YOU WON'T EAT. Give it to them and maybe they tweak it a little and BAM you love their version. Just because you don't like mine doesn't mean you won't like someone else's cookin'.
Your probably thinking why does it matter? Okay, here is my theory so bare (bear or bare?) with me. If you keep 3 containers of leftovers of something you weren't crazy about your mind will believe in a couple weeks hey that wasn't so bad---I'll make it again. and BAM the cycle of spending money and wasting food begins again. Also, if you order out you are more likely to order crap because "it has lettuce on the sandwich, it's healthy".