The Importance of Meal Planning
Politics of Food

The Importance of Meal Planning

Ever been in a funk?

I have been in one for awhile now. A funk where things get pushed to the back burner thus resulting in take out containers piling up in my recycle bin. It feels like I have less and less time for things these days and it is high time I got myself organized again!

I have a heart for knowing where my food comes from, eating humanely raised meat products, and doing as much as possible to make my own food. I also have a heart for eating a more traditional diet. This blog is my expression of that.

So how does one break out of a funk?

With a plan.

And by starting back up on things that are important. Summer is a very busy season around here, which is probably why I love autumn so much. A lot of people feel promise and a sense of new beginnings in the Spring, but I begin to feel it when the leaves start to change colour and the air gets cooler. It energizes me, makes me dream, and helps set me back on course after a long and busy season.

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So kombucha is back to brewing on my counter, kefir grains are turning Phoebe’s delicious milk into probitoic goodness, the smell of bread baking is lofting through the air, and me and my cook books once again are snuggling up on the couch planning out the week ahead.

If you have never written yourself a meal plan, I encourage you to start. It will help you stay out of that panic when it’s 5 pm and there is nothing thawed or even close to being prepared for dinner. It will help keep you organized – by knowing whats for dinner you can anticipate prep and can make things ahead of time as needed. And it will help save you money. How many times have you bought something while grocery shopping, only to never use it. And then it turns into a fuzzy moldy mess in your crisper, never reaching it’s full culinary destiny. We don’t want that! Food is to be appreciated, loved, and eaten. Not growing hair in the dark resources of the fridge. Can I get an amen?

So how does a meal plan work? It can be as simple as just writing out what’s for dinner each night, or it can be as comprehensive as writing out everything you’re going to eat in a day. For us I just write out what’s for dinner. Breakfast usually consists of whatever I can eat on the fly, and lunch is usually leftovers or a sandwich. How complex your meal plan is will vary depending on your situation. I use no special equipment, and no special services to make up our meal plan. Just me, my cookbooks, my favourite food blogs on my iPad, and a pen and piece of paper. Once finished I put it on the fridge. If something needs some extra prep work I will make a note of it. I also make a note of what cookbook I’m using and the page number, that way it’s easy to find when I go to prepare dinner.

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Another favourite of mine to keep cooking simple is using a slow cooker. I prep everything the night before, switch it on in the morning before I go to work, and by the time I come home dinner is ready. Super simple for those days when I know I’m going to be exhausted upon arriving home. Also, you may have noticed, a lot of my recipes on this blog involve a slow cooker. I’m a huge believer in not having to babysit every project I have going. If I can use a slow cooker to look after one thing so I can focus on something else, I’m all for it!

You should also plan your meal plan around what is in season. If you have a garden you will be even more in touch with this. Have zucchini everywhere? What can we make that will use it up? How about those tomatoes? How do we incorporate them into dinner? Locally grown food that is in season will also be less expensive to buy at the grocery store, which again will save you money, as well as being a healthy and traditional way to eat.

Lastly use your days off as a prep day. I will bake bread, cook up some dried beans if needed, and generally try to get a lot of prep work done for myself on my day off. A meal plan helps in this respect so I know what I need. Have chili on the meal plan? I need to cook up a batch of beans. Am I going to be super busy this week? Maybe I should bake up an extra loaf of bread and freeze it. Making pot pie or pizza? Maybe I should make up pastry or pizza crust. This helps relieve a lot of the work load when I don’t have as much time.

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So looking to get out of a funk? Looking to do more scratch cooking, or to tighten up your budget while eating better? I highly suggest starting a meal plan. It takes very little time and the rewards are visible.

Grab a tea, a scrap piece of paper, a pen and your favourite cook book and get to it! It’s not as hard as you might think to stay on top of dinner hour.

May we all have less takeout containers in our recycle bins.

And amen.

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