A few weeks ago I bought a bundle of bananas, with the intention to eat each and every one of them, only to remember afterwards that I was going out of town and they would likely be rotting on my counter before I returned.
Normally, loading up on just enough produce to eat before it goes bad is part of a strategy I use to stay on track with my healthy eating. It’s what I like to call the “use it up” method, where my goal is to waste as little food as possible, and it works like this:
- Step 1: write out all desired meals and snacks, including lots of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Planning for a period of 3-4 days works best as food typically starts to get a little funky after that long (but you can plan further in advance if you are making and freezing meals).
- Step 2: Create a shopping list based on all foods included in the menu, being sure to take proper portions into account (not necessarily what the recipe calls for, but how much you actually intend to eat in one sitting).
- Step 3: Go shopping, stick to the list!
- Step 4: Prepare the foods (i.e. cook recipes in bulk and portion into individual containers to be stored, wash and chop veggies and fruits if necessary, etc). Though sometimes not necessary (for instance, if you are throwing together simple turkey wraps, you probably don’t need to do much in advance), the point of this step is to make the food easy and convenient to eat over the next few days.
- Step 5 (this is the key): Make it a game, and challenge yourself to finish all of the perishable foods (that are now nicely prepared and ready to eat) before ordering take out, picking up fast food, or buying more groceries.
Sometimes it’s difficult to stay on track with healthy eating, even when there is plenty of fresh, healthy, whole food waiting (and spoiling) in your fridge. Proper planning and preparation to make healthy eating convenient are incredibly helpful and important, but I’ve found that making a game of finishing my healthy eats before they spoil is the cherry on top that really keeps me on track. Plus, my favorite fast food (hello Chipotle!) is always waiting at the end of each 3-4 day stretch. You never know, the “use it up” method may just help you stay on track with eating more healthy, home-cooked meals (and saving money dining out) too!
So what became of the bananas? You bet I didn’t waste them! Instead, I stashed them in the freezer and later made them into these delicious banana nut muffins 🙂
- 1 Tbsp softened butter
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 mashed ripe bananas
- 1/4 c. applesauce
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/4 c. oats
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- dash salt
- 1/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in the bananas and applesauce. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then mix them into the wet mixture until well combined. Lastly, if desired, add the chopped walnuts. Grease muffin tins, divide batter evenly, and scoop into 8 muffin cups. Bake for roughly 35 minutes, or until muffins pull away from pan edges slightly and toothpick comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan to cool, and enjoy!
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