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the haas machine: Wednesday's "What We Ate Jan. 21-27, 2013"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's "What We Ate Jan. 21-27, 2013"

I've been thinking a lot about why meal planning is worth the trouble. Before I got married & especially before we had a kid, I hardly ever planned a meal in advance. I would usually go to the grocery store once or twice a month & pick up a whole bunch of items that I enjoyed & then came home to find that I hardly had any satisfying or wholesome meal options. I would run out of veggies within a week, but would carelessly choose to not go back to the store to replentish them. I'm definitely not saying that I'm the picture of wellness now, but I was absolutely far from it then.

Here's s small list of why meal planning is worth the extra effort (& when I say "effort" it's a total of a few hours of researching recipes, putting them on our calendar & shopping weekly):
  1. It's usually healthier (of course this depends on what you cook-- if you make fried chicken at home, obviously it's not just healthier because you didn't eat it in fast food joint).
  2. You can streamline what's in your food. This is especially important if you have any allergies, choosey eaters, or are looking to lose weight.
  3. It's cheaper. Our food budget for 2 adults & 1 toddler is $50 a week. We buy only organic meat, organic vegetables & fruits that are on the dirty dozen list, items in bulk whenever we can, & we stay away from most things "boxed" that I could make instead (my current fav. is homemade graham crackers). $50 is definitely a challenge every week, but that gives us 7 dinners, 7 lunches, & 7 breakfasts. It would give us probably 2 dinners if we dinned out.
  4. It can be fun. I'm really lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking, so it's something that we can occassionally do together. I usually cook dinner during the week, but when we have a little more time to explore all things culinary on the weekend, it's something that we can share. Plus, Ruby is getting to be the age where she can help do simple things like mixing or picking up all the onion peels from the ground (her personal favorite).
  5. It keeps you out of a rut. When I don't plan meals in advance, I hardly ever make something new or exciting, which isn't a priority all of the time of course, but I do want to eat food we enjoy most of the time.
  6. Left-overs. This is pretty obvious, but when you're planning your meals, you can allow for recipes to be doubled & eaten later if you know you'll have a busier week ahead of you. I love having left-overs for lunch the next day.
  7. If you're like me, meal planning eliminates stress. It's actually a burden for me to think up a meal every single night, so if I can spend an hour or so planning it all at once, I save myself the headache of doing it nightly.
  8. It helps kids eat their veggies. Although this is something I have yet to experience, I've heard that if you involve your kids in the planning/shopping/cooking of healthy foods, they are more likely to eat them or at least try them. I can't wait to let Ruby in on the fun!
  9. You will shop more efficiently & actually save time, energy, & money. If you are able to make one or two trips to the store a week for all of your items, this saves you from running back to the store because you forgot a few ingredients. There's nothing more annoying than running out of flour when you're making a mound of pancakes...
  10. You can eat seasonally. This is something that we are trying to do more, but it can be challening because we have so much available in our produce sections. Have you ever noticed how much better a summer tomato tastes verses a winter one? When you're meal planning, you can choose to avoid some of those foods that aren't as tasty out of season.
What are your reasons for meal planning?
Tuesday's dinner: balsamic grilled tofu salads (mixed greens, quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, & balsamic-marinated extra firm tofu)

What We Ate Jan. 21-27, 2013
Monday: Chicken tostadas
Tuesday: Balsamic grilled tofu salads
Wednesday: Roasted vegetable lasagna with mixed green salad
Thursday: Left-over roasted vegetable lasagna
Friday: Pecan crusted tilapia with cheesy broccoli quinoa
Saturday: Spinach & feta turn-overs with Greek salad
Sunday: Confetti mac 'n' cheese

I also made 2 batches of these blueberry muffins this week.

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