Farm fresh and family friendly :: meal planning

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Meal planning. Oh so fun. I know, I know. There’s something nice about deciding every day what to eat that very day. But really, who has the time? For one, you’d probably have to go to the store multiple times a week to supply the ingredients needed for spontaneous meals. And two, it still takes too much thought on a daily basis. So…yes, meal planning.

For years, my spouse and I have planned our meals in advance. Once we had kids and really needed to budget–and especially after I started staying home full-time and we became a one-income family–meal planning became a financial necessity. Going into each day knowing what we were having for dinner, greatly diminished our restaurant meals. Meal planning also cut down on the number of trips we took to the store, which–in turn–reduced our number of impulse buys (especially wine, beer, and ice cream).

At my personal blog, Urban Almanac, I recently posted about my family’s switch from weekly meal planning to monthly meal planning. Whatever method you choose, the process is the same. Pick a day of the week (or month) to sit down and think constructively about what you’d like your family to eat.  We have repeats and a general pattern. Fridays are homemade pizza night. Sunday’s are slightly bigger meals like a roast chicken or a beef stew. During the week, we try to find balance between easy meat-based dishes and non-meat based dishes, such as beans and high protein grains. Once  you sit down and do it, meal planning is easier than you think.

Please note that we’re not perfect. We still eat at Chipotle more than we should. And despite how well my pantry may be stocked and a meal planned, if I get home too late in the afternoon, I have neither the time nor the inclination to cook. So…if meal planning is new to you, be easy with yourself. As my son says, “practice makes better.”

In case you need a bit more inspiration, there are a couple of lovely posts about meal planning and Fields and Fire and Salt and Chocolate.

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For more cooking and urban gardening ideas, trials, and errors, as well other things from the commonplace scene, please visit my blog at urbanalmanac.wordpress.com.

 

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One Response to “Farm fresh and family friendly :: meal planning”

  1. Carla Says:

    Great advice. I like you started getting more serious about meal planning after getting married and having a family. I’ve always loved food, cooking and eating. In fact, because we all have to eat, I find that we all meal plan so some degree. I’m a weekly meal planner and admire those that can plan for a month. I’m just not there yet.

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