Ok guys, I am still plowing (trudging?) through this simplicity experiment. I am realizing each subject really has so much to it. I declared this was food week & while its still in process, I thought I would share some of my takeaways from this week (and things that we have added this year to make food things a little simpler.)
First off, I hate planning. I am re-reading Better Than Before and trying to understand habits, but that's another conversation....I am not spontaneous with a lot of things, but I also don’t like to being pinned down. Does that make me an oxymoron? Probably.
On to the list....
1. Make a food plan! This is my life...
When I forget to meal plan (i.e. most of the time) I get overwhelmed thinking about what to make. My lack of planning definitely makes things more stressful around the house. My husband, Philip, and I try to have a weekly meeting on Sundays to look at the week ahead and talk about our schedule - including food. I made a little printable if a little guidance might help you! Oh and my favorite fun pens.
2. Make some meals predictable. This January we decided we wanted to prioritize family time & have some predictable things in place for our kids. We have not done this perfectly, but are trying to add a couple meal theme nights every week. Philip got this idea from Simplicity Parenting. We stink at getting our kids to eat the same food we eat. We have chili ... they have a tortilla and carrots. We grill chicken...they have...a tortilla and carrots. This has given some predictability (because I'm not spontaneous), but with some freedom (don't pin me down!).
Our Schedule (to give you an idea)
MONDAY // Mexican (because Taco Tuesday felt too limiting...)
THURSDAY // Pizza at church (for an event we typically have)
SUNDAY // Soup (I love soup...its one meal in one pot....and its cold most of the year in MA so this gives me a reason to make it. Plus, Sunday seemed fitting with the slower day)
3. Things always come up. You forget an ingredient, work went late, 20 min on FB became 1.5 hrs. Come up with some ideas for easy meals to use in a pinch. Stock the ingredients if you can. Pinterest can be for LALA dreamland, but this can also be super helpful for remembering recipes you love & coming up with ideas when you are setting a weekly plan.
4. Overstock non-perishables that you can afford & know you use frequently. This is such a silly one - but my kids love a few Trader Joe products like their 12 grain crackers & granola bars. Why not buy 3 boxes instead of one so you can skip the Trader Joe’s run one week. I find myself going to multiple grocery stores in a week (ie: market basket for cheap stuff, Trader Joe’s for fun healthy-ish things...target for toilet paper or other random things....the farm stand for fresh local produce) Overstocking when I can helps avoid trips to multiple places.
5. Two words: PREPARED MEALS. I don’t mind a good salad, but I hate the work of making them for some reason. This is why buying things that are half prepared- like Hello Fresh or a bag salad help me make a better food decision when I am tired (ie most days). Take a Trader Joes Bag Salad & put a boiled egg on top & add some sunflower seeds. Boom, lunch is served. Rachel Ray eat your heart out.
6. Make extras. This is like a stupid simple takeaway, but if you make extras - you don't have to cook as much. I loved this idea from the Lazy Genius...Make extra food, see if friends want to come over (BONUS PRO TIP - builds community ;) ) If they can't, BOOM leftovers for lunch or tomorrow night dinner.
What would you add that has simplified food in your house?