As I’ve tried to get away from eating even the healthiest options of processed foods and to save money on my grocery bill by more regularly eating the whole grains and dried beans I have, I’ve learned that I need to have a different mindset about what foods to have on hand. I used to always make sure I had cheese, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, mushroom soup and so on to cook with. Since I’ve switched to a whole foods diet, I make sure I have fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables available to eat as well as bulk bags of wheat, rolled oats, and a variety of dried beans. However, because I do not always plan ahead and like to eat according to what sounds good at the moment, I don’t use the latter as often as I would like because of the lengthy preparation time for soaking, grinding, and cooking. I’m learning that it’s not enough to have whole foods in the house if I don’t take some time each week to prepare them to be easily usable. For example, grinding several batches of wheat into flour and freeze what I’m not going to use soon, soaking one kind of bean each week whether I have specific plans for their use or not, and chopping up veggies after bringing them home from the grocery store. If I always have flour on hand, then when I’m baking in a hurry I don’t have to stop to grind wheat first or I choose not to bake at all because I don’t have time to both grind the wheat and bake. If I soak beans each week, then I can choose to make soup and freeze the leftovers or cook the beans plain and freeze to use in recipes later instead of using canned beans with the unneeded salt. After a few weeks, I’ll have frozen beans of any variety I need for whatever I’m in the mood to eat. I often cook the beans or soup all day in the crockpot, so it doesn’t really take much extra time. When I pre-chop my veggies, I’m more likely to grab them for a snack or a meal on the run, instead of something processed and already packaged. The weeks that I make the effort to do a little each day, I eat healthier and save money on groceries.