Is this food?
This is what my 10 year old son says to me when I try to make something different for dinner. Or, What smells like barf? Or, Are we suppose to eat this? Or, Is that green stuff? Yes, all lovely sentiments when it comes to the food I just spent hours slaving over the hot stove for. My response is yes you must try everything and please don’t make those comments in front of your sister.
So, here I am a holistic nutritionist and my family eats, ok, at best. I have a super picky son, hubby and daughter who will eat anything and myself, a vegetarian. This makes meal planning hard and stressful. I end up making the same thing over and over again, especially for the son and it’s getting really boring.
At last count I had 78 cookbooks. 78! Yet I still only use a couple and when I do try something new and we like it, I promptly forget about it in a couple of days and have completely forgotten about it when it comes time to meal plan.
How am I going to shake things up? I have a plan, sort of, want to hear it?
- Make a list. Something like a positive/negative list when you are making those life altering decisions. What I know about our families eating patterns; likes, dislikes, favourites, WILL NOT EAT, etc
- Meals that everyone can eat. I am a vegetarian, I will on occasion eat seafood if there is no other option. Very rarely. I need to find meals that I can cook a meat version and a veggie version with not much fuss. I worry about my protein and iron intake and will be monitoring these during this transition.
- Make ahead meals. When I did eat meat, this was very handy and every couple of months I would spend a Sunday afternoon making freezer meals for the next month. Unfortunately the cookbook I used called for canned soups, packets of ready made onion soup and some other not healthy ingredients. I will be searching for make ahead meals that use more natural ingredients, easily heated up with the option of a meat and veggie options.
- Get my butt off the computer/phone/tablet and do some prep. Sure I love sitting and cruising the internet looking at home decor, beautiful food photos and vacation spots. But I need to start to get organized and that is going to be me making time in my day to organize, prep and make ahead what I need for the next day or week.
- Get over the mess. I like when I am cooking dinner, but hate the clean up and the mess. This is usually why I don’t really bother with making a vegetarian option at meal time, which would involve more dishes to clean. So I end up eating the veggies and carb portion of what the rest of the families eats. Can you say, not too healthy.
- Create a master shopping list. This will be a master list with a section of ingredients I need to have on hand at all times to make some core meals. For example, my husband LOVES pho for lunch on the weekends, I am going to find a recipe, make ahead the beef broth, keep this in the freezer along with some thinly sliced beef, noodles and various vegetables for a quick pho. Also the kids love chicken fingers for lunch, I will buy bulk chicken (from my favourite rancher) and make ahead chicken fingers for the freezer for these days. I love curry, I will make ahead the freezer portion of the curry and have vegetables on hand to add.
My focus will be whole foods. I will purchase from my favourite rancher for my beef and chicken. Be testing recipes on the kids, especially the picky one, bringing our food budget down and less waste. Streamline our menu planning, get the kids involved and at the end (is there an end?) we should have everyone in the family eating healthy, making good decisions and a lower food bill. There will be tweaking along the way as I see how the family reacts, break throughs and comments from the family.
Next week I am going to show you my positive/negative list and come up with my strategy.