So the hubby and I were talking two nights ago about how different our grocery shopping and cooking habits are from the beginning of our marriage. Now, first off I think that you should know that we got married during our last year of college at the ages of 21 and 23. We were young, in college and both working part-full time jobs. We were on our own paying all of our bills based on what we made at our jobs. We were good at couponing and general grocery shopping because we both worked many, many years in a grocery store. So from the get-go we were pretty good grocery shoppers. Once every other month of so we would drive down the mountain, yep we had to drive down the mountain to get to a lot of stores, and go to Sam's Club. We invested in a chest freezer just for that purpose. We wanted to be able to make our Sam's trips count if we were going to have to drive down the mountain to shop there.
In general back then our grocery and Sam's Club trips consisted of whatever meat we needed or was on sale (generally chicken, ground beef, bacon, steak, roast, and pork). We regularly purchased cheese sticks, french fries, tator tots, cheesecakes, honey buns, and I'm guessing you can get the drift. We mainly purchased junk food. I did attempt menu planning back then. I wanted to do better and printed out blank menu's and scoured websites for new recipes to make.
One of the menu's I found from back then was:
Tuesday- Garlic Shrimp, green beans, and biscuits
Wednesday- Roast Ckn w/ potato's and carrots
Friday- Steak, biscuits, baked potato's and macaroni and cheese
Saturday- Ckn tenders and fries
Sunday- Cheeseburger pie
Not terrible but the following week was:
Monday- Lemon pepper ckn, green beans and biscuits
Tuesday- Breakfast pizza and fruit
Wednesday- Pork chops, mashed potato's and Velveeta shells and cheese
Friday- Shrimp and rice
Saturday- Steak, salad and potato's
Sunday- Salmon, potato's, green beans and biscuits
Ok, see a pattern there? Meat, carbs and pretty much no vegetables. I want to say that back then we had biscuits or potato's at every meal. I can definitely see a major improvement in our eating habits. Back then things were usually fried too. If we had pork chops or chicken it was fried.
Don't get me wrong, we still have a lot of room for improvement but our meals are much more balanced and there is more variety. Biscuits are a rarity anymore and I don't even consider potato's a vegetable as I once did. I try to have at least one vegetable with dinner and am working toward making sure there are fruits/vegetables at each meal. I also see good things about our introduction to menu planning. We had the beginnings of a good system going it just took time and I guess age for us to make some of the additional changes. I mean seriously, I didn't know any other 21 year old that was making menu plans.
Over the past 6-7 years I've seen the evolution of our grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking. We have gone from young college kids that eat fast food multiple times per week, eat lots of prepackaged items and very few veggies to parents that want to set a good example for their child and cook from scratch. Now, if we do happen to buy cheese sticks or cheesecake at Sam's it's a treat and we don't inhale them within a week.
It's so easy to get down on ourselves about our bad habits. I know that I have a major sweet tooth and that I haven't always been the best eater. I was what you would call a "picky" eater. I've had an aversion to tomato sauces since I was a baby. They make me gag to the point of almost throwing up and the smell even makes me feel sick. So growing up I always got the you don't eat what?! when I would inform others that I don't like pizza, spaghetti, lasagna or any type of food with tomato based sauces. I was also not the most adventurous eater. I ate a lot of the same stuff. However, there are so many things that I have tried and that I eat now that I didn't 10 years ago. After looking at our old menu's and looking at the menu plans I've made the past few months I see really good progress. There is more variety in how meals are prepared, the vegetables that are eaten and there are a LOT more vegetables being eaten.
I'm interested to see what kind of progress we make over the next few years and where we will be with our menu's and eating habits in the future.