Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meal Planning

I am beginning to think I am either a terrible time manager or a completely unorganized person. I think it is probably a little of both. So, in an attempt to get more organized and actually get some new projects done around the house instead of spinning my wheels everyday, I have identified an area of my life that could use huge improvement. You guessed it, meal planning.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Once I began paying attention to how my frazzled mornings were going, I realized that I was having to run to the grocery store several times per week because I didn't have something for a recipe I wanted to make, had run out of a staple or two, had nothing to pack in the girl's school lunches or simply had not thought about dinner for the day.

So what did I do to correct this situation and add some time to my day?

1. I signed up for Door to Door Organics and began getting my veggies and fruits delivered to my door each week. It turns out that a medium box is pretty perfect for my whole food eating family of four. I will be putting this service on hold for the summer when my CSA share begins. This means that I will have to pick-up my box from the farm instead.

2. I began stocking up on staples. For instance, I made sure I had plenty of flour, sugar, olive oil, oatmeal, pasta, cinnamon, butter, ground flaxseed, wheat germ and even milk. The organic milk at Costco comes in a box of three half gallons that last for up to a month according to the expiration date. We are not huge milk drinkers so this lasts us for quite a while. Only you know what you really use most, but in case you need a little reminder, check out this list of staples you may want to have in your pantry.

3. We generally go out to eat twice a week, once during the week and once on the weekend. Keeping that in mind, I have started going through our plans for the other five days and identifying which nights we will be eating dinner as a family and which nights my husband might have a work event. I usually cook a little lighter for the girls and I on those nights. The simple step of figuring out which days I will be cooking has made me stop and think about what we will be eating too.

If you need help getting organized like I do, check out Meals Matter. This site offers healthy meal planning tools, and recipes. You can actually look up recipes based on a specific ingredients, meal type, prep time, nutrient content (great if you are, for example, watching your sodium), special features (like vegetarian meals), etc. and build your shopping list for the week. They also have a cookbook tool where you can enter and save your favorite recipes to share with your family and friends.

Another note re: meal planning. Whether you are on a weight loss plan, medical diet or simply trying to feed your family and yourself healthy whole foods, planning is a must. In addition to adding stress to your life, the lack of planning can enable poor choices. You are much more likely to pick up a not-so-healthy snack or fast food if you haven't surrounded yourself with good food. Don't let your lack of planning knock you or your family off track.

I have learned my lesson. One big trip to the grocery store is definitely better than five small trips in so many ways.


1 comment:

Kristen's Raw said...

I agree about planning being important. It is for me, too. Plus, I love food so much that I get excited about the planning part. ;)

I keep a separate kitchen calender.


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