Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meal Planning For 2 + : Adjusting Cooking Concepts to Shop Effectively

When Meal Planning for more than just yourself, you must take more than your own food preferences into account. This can easily become a juggling act. It grows easy to fall back on "what mom made" even if you didn't like opening your lunchbox in elementary school to see yet-another PB&J and Tang.

If you’re sending your significant other, child, or other (and yourself) off to work, school, daily-life with lunch in hand, the nature of the job might inform you how and what to cook.

My guy, for instance, spends his day behind a desk. He’s concerned about the recent studies about the dangers of sedantism, and abhors the very idea of weight-gain. So I’m making him a series of “snacks” to take to work.

Breakfast for my guy consists of: fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries raspberries + almond slivers) orange slices (from my parent’s tree!) 1 Blueberry muffin & 1 Strawberry muffin.

Lunch is the remaining Enchilada, from last night’s dinner.

However, being home all day, I can be more active: walks, housework, and errand-running intersperses the job-hunt, writing and blogging. So I eat three meals:

2 Starwberry muffins and fruit salad

Carrot Pseudo-Frittata with spinach salad

Dinner: Curry
(Not yet made)

Look--we’re eating differently! How is this meal planning for 2?

Enchilada: last night’s leftovers (they are turkey enchiladas made with the seasoned ground turkey used for tacos the day before)--containing mushrooms, spinach, ¾ of a tomato (left over from a sandwich-lunch eaten over the weekend), frozen bell pepper, green onion, cheese, the remainder of the tortillas ( a few days prior we had had quesedillas, and so opened the bag).

The carrot-rice pseudo frittata was made of leftover carrot rice that was going uneaten. The salad has two greens: spinach (of course) and the leftover sliced lettuce from the tacos, plus sliced mushrooms, carrots and pickled beat.

Strawberry Muffin, and strawberries in fruit salad come from the same place.

Curry: Chicken + spinach + mushroom + green onion.

Taking into account different nutritional, caloric and other needs leads to looking for veggies that you can get a lot of life out of. What these veggies are will be determined, in part, by your preferences. It can also be influenced by the way in which you get your produce.

Since I rely heavily on a Farmer’s Market, the season plays a big part in our eating choices. But I know there are a few that I love above all else, and integrate year round.

Knowing your eating preferences allows you to buy seasonings accordingly. Seasoning your veggies when you cook them, will lead to much more veggie-eating. Just...go gently with the salt...

And remember, the meals that you are picking week-to-week should be using overlapping ingredients. that doesn't mean the same things go into every dish, but overlap reduces how much money you spend shopping, and cuts down on waste.


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