My husband and I are both getting started late on our careers, following disastrous first (so-called) marriages, so your book is a real help.
Our latte factor? Neither of us drinks coffee (we were told we couldn’t drink coffee until we were grown-ups…), but since we’re both hardworking educators and we come home tired, exhausted, and very hungry, “latte” time came when it was time to fix dinner. While I don’t mind cooking, so long as there’s something to cook and the ingredients to make it interesting, my husband tended to look in the freezer and the meat drawer and if there wasn’t anything there that could just be popped into the oven, he’d declare, “We don’t really have anything to eat, do we?” That was often the signal to go get a pizza, calzone, or deli chicken. We’d also stock up on quick-fix items, like those pre-cooked slices of turkey in gravy that you find in the meat section.
Still, the subtle maneuvers to see who would go into the kitchen first to cook, the resentment at being the one who has to cook AGAIN, and a checkup that diagnosed my husband with high blood pressure and high cholesterol changed all that. We had to do something about our diets. We were eating too many packaged foods, which meant too much salt and fat and too few fresh fruits and veggies.
Enter the concept of meal planning. We’d been on shopping expeditions for my son’s Scout troop, and noticed how good planning kept them within their budgets but still fed them well. We got some low-fat, low-cal recipe books, bought a good crock pot, I got a bread machine for Christmas, and we set up a system of taking turns planning the meals and doing the cooking.
Surprise! Guess what meal planning did to the grocery bill? Those pre-packaged, pre-cooked foods were expensive! And knowing exactly what we were going to eat meant that we were shopping only for the things we needed, instead of browsing the aisles and thinking, “Oh, that might be good,” only to have “that” go bad because we didn’t eat it after all.
Meal planning has shaved at least $50 a month off of our grocery bill — often more — and between better food, fewer snacks, a program of moderate exercise, and small amounts of medication, my husband’s blood pressure and cholesterol are under control. Good health is thrifty — think of what we’ll save on medical bills in the future!