Eating Forward

It’s Friday, so that means I’m Fumbling with Being Green again. Everyone loved last week’s mashup of DIY Vertical Garden Ideas – if you try it out send a pic. I want to see it! I’m still working on mine. Saturday is coming – say it with me: Yard Sale! lol I am on the lookout for creative container ideas, and anything I can upcycle for my vertical garden.

Curb Shopping On Garbage Day

On my walk yesterday I saw someone had put out an old crib at the curb. I stared at those horizontal slat sides, and the head board that really just screamed for a summer’s worth of Morning Glories – but I couldn’t bring myself to curb shop on garbage day. Not while I was walking. *shakes head* I know. I know. I could have saved that bit of glorious wood from the landfill.

Mealtimes are the most stressful part of a Mom’s day

Today I wanted to share about eating healthier. I was asked to interview this cookbook author for some freelance work I’m doing. Sandi Richard has authored 6 bestselling cookbooks, hosted 2 of her own shows on the Food Network AND she’s a mom of 7! So, I gave her instant mom cred – this stuff has been tested in the trenches. I grew up having sit-down family meals every night – but that’s been an elusive hit-and-miss thing with my family. It’s something we all say we’d like to do more of – but we end up eating quick junky meals in front of the TV more often than not.

Anyway, the basic premise is that if you knew what you going to be having for supper there would be less ‘drama’ in the evenings after work, less stress, less guilt-food purchases. So, I figured I’d give a shot. I had fun with my daughter going over the recipes time coded for preparation and chopping time.

First – full disclosure. I got the books for free, and I will be doing other work with this author, but I’m not being compensated in any way for this blog post. I don’t have an affiliate account with Amazon – so if you head over to Amazon from here I don’t get a cut for that referral.

Moving on.

The premise is that you plan the week’s meals, and shop by meal. So, this week I didn’t stare into my fridge and pantry and think – what am I missing? Instead, I went through the ingredients for each of the meals I picked from the books and bought what I needed to make those meals. (Plus school snacks, baking necessities, etc.) So, for this entire week I’ve known in the morning what we’re having for supper, and that I have all the ingredients to make it. I know how much time it’ll take me to make it AND the sides are super easy so I got my kids involved. This week, my kids made a spinach salad. My son said, “This is the best spinach salad I’ve ever made!” Hey – the kid hates greens. It was a small step. They also made a raw veggie platter, and coleslaw.

But, here’s the biggest bonus. My kids have been eating things this week that they’ve never been willing to eat. Here’s why. They look up the recipe and flip to the page where it tells you what Sandi’s family thought of it on a scale of 1 – 10. Sandi’s family has more authority with their tastebuds than I do. *shrug* Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

But, this has also allowed me to avoid those quick meal purchases – the frozen pizza, the chicken fingers and fries – the ‘fruit-flavored’ lunch snacks. And we’ve eaten at the dinner table almost every night this week. There’s no more chaos at meal time, and I’m not spending more than a half hour preparing supper.

No More Guilt!

Now I don’t feel guilty about running out to Little Ceasar’s for a $5 pizza that slightly resembles cardboard because I couldn’t decide what to have, everything was frozen, I was missing too many ingredients for what I wanted to make, the kids were screaming they were hungry – and I just wanted everyone to be happy. I didn’t have to run to the grocery store for the one or two ingredients I don’t have for the meal I’m in the middle of making thereby blowing my grocery budget – again. I didn’t spend money on fast food that leaves us hungry an hour later.

I have a sulphite allergy (sensitivity – it won’t kill me). Sulphites are a preservative, it’s an anti-browning agent which gets used in most prepackaged/canned/precooked/kept-hot-under-a-heat-lamp food. Making things from scratch is something I need to do more of. The allergy shiners under my eyes lately have rivaled a football player greased up for the big game. Not pretty. But having this plan has encouraged me to make more things from scratch which is just better for my whole family (the odd can of Campbell’s condensed soup aside). This week I made applesauce from scratch, the morning porridge or cream of wheat, school snacks, chicken stock, and granola. And every meal has included meat, grains, and whole vegetables. Crazy – right?

Will this last? I don’t know – but I’m thinking this is definitely worth sticking with.

Do you have a system for making more meals from scratch? Do you find meal times are an energy-draining chaos you’d rather avoid? What’s the biggest challenge you face to having a sit-down supper every week night?

Lisa

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Comments

  1. says

    I already try to plan ahead like that, but have the problem with 1) getting my kids to eat it and 2) wanting to take the time out of my day to make it (I know selfish of me). I like the fact that your kids are more open to eating the food after reading Sandi’s kid’s review. I might have to look into this. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    Debra Kristi recently posted…Lunch Box Envy

    • says

      What I like about this book series is it color codes all the meals – so if you don’t have much time you pick a ‘green’ meal for instance – or there’s one day a week that’s light on evening activities so you pick one that takes more time.

  2. says

    Planning ahead really does work. I have to know what I’m eating for the whole week and go to the store with a list. Luckily for me, I am sort of a food snob. I don’t like frozen food, pre-packaged food, or fast food. I grew up with food made from scratch, and that is what my taste buds are used to. Plus, after living in Ecuador where you have to make everything from scratch, I’m used to it. When I feel a little lazy, which I have with work being crazy lately, I have switched from some-what fancey meals (no more stuffed chicken breats or quinoa) to easy, one pot meals. That way I can make a weeks worth of lunches in one swoop. It’s easy to do with a meat, a bunch of veggies, brown rice, and some spices. That way I can be lazy and still eat well. Fun post! :)
    Emma Burcart recently posted…He’s A Man, Not A House

    • says

      Yes! It gives all the measurements in Cdn and Amn – plus full nutritional details for both countries as well. And the meals are often low in calories – so when I know that supper will be say 500 calories, it’s easier for me to plan how to eat for the rest of the day.

  3. says

    I don’t have kids to please, and my husband is totally cool with anything easy. One thing I do (and this might not work for kids) is to plan at least two meals for every one cooking session. In other words, if I make grilled chicken, say, I grill enough for two or three nights. We don’t mind eating leftovers and to mix it up a bit, I vary the sides, which are almost always veggies (we’re fighting the battle of the bulge here, so we don’t eat breads, potatoes and pasta at home, saving those for treats when we eat out). And we don’t eat the meal two days in a row. So I cook 3x a week, we have 6 – 7 meals (or more, and then I put them in the freezer for “fast food” when we need it), and we’re happy.
    Diane Capri recently posted…The Road Ahead and Our Special Mother’s Day Gift for Mystery Fan Moms (and those of us who love them!)

  4. says

    It’s cool to see that this worked, Lisa. I really need to do something like this. I don’t have children, but, all too often, my boyfriend and I look at each other at 7 PM and ask “so what’s for dinner?” and we have no idea. It can become an unpleasant scramble when we’re both hungry and tired.

    • says

      Ugh – I hear you. That’s how we’ve been living for a while and it’s no fun! This seems to be working much better.

    • says

      I find flipping through cookbooks a little tedious myself, but my younger daughter loves to cook so she’s been choosing our menus. I’ll just say how much time I have on any given night to prepare a meal, and she picks a meal based on that criteria. I do have to limit her meat selections though – she’d have us eating honey garlic ribs every night of the week otherwise :)

  5. says

    I love the post!

    Planning ahead worked well for my family, but ever since we had my son it’s been easier to cook up a lot of meals and freeze them. Sometimes we just cook the part that’s most taxing (meat) and chop veggies so that it’ll be easier to throw together in a hurry.

  6. says

    Thank you for this inspiring post, Lisa. It makes life so much easier when you plan the whole week’s meals and get all the indegrients in a batch. Currently we shop groceries every other day and it is getting unbearable. Mostly this is because my daughter is extremely picky. If I try something new and she doesn’t like it (that happens most of the time), I need to cook something different for the next day. So I tend to stick to the tried and tested foods. I’m just getting awfully bored with them. It might help to involve them more in the cooking process.
    Reetta Raitanen recently posted…Rock My Heart

    • says

      We’re on our second week. The kids are getting more involved, and they’re more open to trying the food they’ve made themselves.

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