In my last post I mentioned fast food and the need for slowing down in our food ingestion. The thing that I find difficult is not so much the time to slow down the eating but the time to fix the meal in the first place.
I love trying new recipes but generally I don't have the time to do so on a week night. After a full day of work it is tough to enter a lifeless kitchen and stare at an empty kitchen counter and an inactive stove. If I have a plan for the meal it is a little bit better. This summer I have gotten away from meal planning. I notice it must be a universal habit to forego any structure in the summer, since many of the magazines run fall articles about meal planning. I guess when it is summer time, the living (and lack of planning) is easy.
So, in order to start the process of slowing down with our food so that we eat healthy, here are some suggestions that I have found for planning meals:
1. Google "meal planning ideas". There is a plethora of resources. 100 Days of Meals, Everyday Meal Planning, (While I have found Real Simple's menus good with providing main dishes they are lacking in the veggie/fruit/side dish area- I always need to supplement)
2. Many grocery stores are selling pre-chopped, pre-measured, ready to cook food. They also provide recipes either on line or through a store produced magazine. In our region, Wegmans is such a store. I use their recipes as starting points. Wegmans info. Many times I feel that I can chop (and thus save some money) and prep myself. Buying the ready made food can be expensive but you will have to weigh time versus money. Many organizers suggest prepping your ingredients ahead of time. Some suggestions.
3. A neighbor recently told me about Blue Apron. It is a subscription-based food prep company which will send you all the ingredients, recipes and technique to fix delicious, farm to table, home made food. You can order different meal plans each week. It isn't cheap but it isn't as expensive as I thought it would be. Certainly it is less expensive than "picking up a bite to eat" plus you have the added benefit of farm fresh ingredients. If, you have some time to fix your meal (the recipes aren't complicated or long) and want some variety using in-season, local food, this seems like a great option. (plus you don't have to do the planning or purchasing)
4. Eating healthy doesn't have to cost more than eating unhealthy foods. Google "budget friendly healthy meals" for some ideas. Budget-friendly I know some people who spend a couple of hours each weekend to prep/freeze meals for the coming week. Or whenever they make a meal if it is freezable, they will double the recipe and freeze one.
I guess as with anything it comes down to planning. Taking a little time each week to determine the upcoming meals is probably worth it in the long run.
What about you? Do you have a method of meal planning? What are your considerations? Finances? Time? Both? Do you have a go-to site for quick, easy meal planning?