Get Organized, Eat Better

Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and to get organized. The good news is that it’s easier to do both if you do them together. If you have regular meals of healthy food, you’ll be less likely to fill up on junk.

To do my meal planning and make up my shopping lists, I use the system that Pam Young and Peggy Jones introduced in their book The Sidetracked Sisters Catch Up on the Kitchen. Pam and Peggy have written a series of very funny books packed with practical advice to enable the congenitally disorganized to get control of their homes and their lives. Their meal planning system involves index cards, one card for each menu.

Each of my menu cards represents an entire meal. It includes the names of the dishes, along with where I can find the recipe, and a list of all the ingredients. I also include special instructions, such as if I have to start soaking beans the day before. When I plan my meals, I try to include a variety of tastes and textures. If a main dish requires baking, I’ll include a dessert that has to be baked at the same temperature. I even indicate whether the recipe is seasonal. For example, I’ll have recipes for asparagus in the spring, and pumpkin in the fall.

To do my meal planning, I just select some of my cards. The cards tell me all the ingredients I’ll need. While I’m making one day’s meal, I’ll check the following day’s card, to see if I have to soak any beans or do any other kind of advanced preparation.

Of course, that’s not the only way to switch to a healthy low-fat, plant-based diet. Karen Barrow achieved it without complicated recipes.

Just cook the food ahead on the day that you have off and you can have your whole thing streamlined and organized for the whole week. Just have your boiled potatoes, have your cooked grains. We make these things we call “veggie tubs” where we put a mixture of raw vegetables in individual little containers so that they’re grab and go. You can make it as streamlined as you want it to be…. Just make a decision that you’re going to try it for a given amount of time, and if you do that your tastes will change, and you’ll have the results you want, and you’ll have them quickly.

Update: Try the mobile cookbook app from John and Mary McDougall!

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