Do you plan your meals for the week? I sort of do – all things in moderation, you know, including being organized – but am always quite glad when I consistently pull it off. I have a couple of basic, pre-typed grocery lists on Word, organized by food category and store lay-out (I shop primarily at two different stores depending on what I need). They make getting organized much faster, definitely. I just highlight the items I need, scribble in the extras, and go. I’m definitely more purposeful in the fall and winter – no CSA veggie share to innovate around, for one. And less go-with-the-flow time as well – the busier and more scheduled things get, the more organized one needs to be, we all know that. And if you want to eat relatively quick, tasty meals…
…and healthy meals as well, then planning ahead is the way to go. Let’s face it, we’ve all bought random fruits and vegetables only to have them shrivel and weep (literally!) from neglect. I eat my daily 5-9 (servings of fruits and veggies) most consistently when I plan to eat them. Sure I keep lettuce and spinach on hand for quick salads. Always have onions, carrots, and potatoes in the pantry. But perishables like broccoli, pea pods, mushrooms, artichokes et al come with a plan, man, so they get eaten by me (and not the bacteria in the trash).
I love the concept of cooking on Sunday to carry me through part of the week, although I don’t really pull it off – do you? While I obviously love to dig in and do some serious cooking, most days our meals are pretty simple, kid-friendly fare – lean protein, fruit/vegetables, grain (preferably whole grain; I love whole grain anything – the rest of the fam, not so much). Shrimp sauteed with garlic and broccoli, rice. Grilled steak, egg noodles, pea pods. Grilled chicken, peppers, onions, tortillas. Even last night, when it was just John and me, it was just sauteed vegetables, simmered with some clam juice and wine, with a piece of fish thrown on top to steam, over whole-wheat couscous (which takes 5 minutes – literally 5 minutes – to prepare). Thirty minutes in all from chopping block to stomach, done. Make some extra, eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, and there, you ate your veggies.
Moderate it: I don’t know about you, but I eat better – in every way – when I plan meals and shop ahead. We eat out less, I eat more fresh foods, I cook healthier fare, I even eat healthier snacks when I know what I’m doing ahead of time. Basically, no down-side, because even while it takes a bit of effort up front to figure out what to make and put a list together, you save lots of time and energy come meal-time, totally worth it.