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  • Writer's pictureKate Cleveland

It all starts in YOUR kitchen

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

**Please note, this post was transferred over from the previous version of It has been slightly modified to reflect changes in the new design, etc. but most of my thoughts from back then are still very relevant!

Everyone has the lofty goal of having a healthy diet. The main problem people struggle with is making it last when life gets in the way. In our family, we have found the best way to survive the busy is . . . Keep it Simple and it will become Sustainable.

Whether you are a meticulous planner or more on the spontaneous side, meal planning and prep is the single best way to incorporate more healthy foods into your routine. The key is to figure out which style works best for you. When I started meal planning, I was overwhelmed by all thousands of blogs and websites out there with schedules, lists, tips, and tricks because most of the information did not apply to my way of life. At first, I was frustrated and thought if I didn't do it the way one "expert" explained, I was doing it wrong. Then, the more I read and researched, I realized that for every "expert" that explained it one way, there were 12 others with their own thoughts, ideas, and advice.

For our family, meal planning consists of picking a few things we'd like to eat that week, making a shopping list (and sticking to it!), and then taking it day by day. We aren't the type of people who can make a plan for every meal, every day of the week and stick to it. Life happens and with two kids, that rigidity just isn't feasible for us. The reason I am telling you this is not to say that you should do what I do, only because it took me a while to figure out what works for us and to be okay with that.

Maybe you are the type of person who can stick to a hardline plan and perhaps that even helps you on your path to a healthier you. Maybe you are the type of person who can open the fridge, use whatever happens to be in there, and whip up an amazing meal that covers the food groups and satisfies all your nutritional needs. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, here is one fundamental idea that can help you in those "I am hungry NOW" moments.

Have a few quick and easy "go-to" recipes for Last-Minute Meals. Keep the ingredients for these on hand to help avoid yet another delivery guy on your porch because there's nothing at home to eat. We have all gotten home from a long day, exhausted and hungry, only to find spoiled milk, ketchup, and an empty pickle jar in the fridge . . . and nothing else. That is the worst feeling in the world! Luckily, a little bit of foresight into your busy life can avoid this situation. Maybe not every time, but remember, we are taking small steps to increase our health and life-changing habits happen a little bit at a time.

Our best "go-to" meal around here is tacos. Sometimes our tacos are burritos. Or taco salad. Or nachos. Or quesadillas. (Don't worry, they never look this professional!) Sometimes they contain leftover meat from another meal, or sometimes we just open a can of beans. Sometimes we have a lot of veggies that go along with the theme, but sometimes we don't. My point is that we usually have at least some of the ingredients to make a Mexican style dish, and the combination is always delicious . . . and much healthier than a happy meal! Bonus if you have picky eaters or dietary restrictions in your home, it's easy to just omit ingredients as needed.

Having ingredients around is key to being able to throw something together. Here is a list of things (link coming soon!) we buy almost weekly or be sure to usually have around in order to Keep it Simple and Sustainable.


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