Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Menu Planning Attempts again

We need menus here. We need regularly planned meals. It makes for much easier grocery shopping, saves money (really!), and reduces stress all around. Months ago, maybe even a year ago, I made a list of favorite meals and sorted that list by type of food (e.g., chicken v. pasta v. veggie). For reasons not entirely clear to me, that list isn't working for me. I don't feel inspired to make any of it, even though I know the choices are good choices. For example:

Veggie enchiladas (easily made into chicken enchiladas)
Potato frittata
Summer squash casserole

Part of my trouble with the recipes I love most is a simple matter of calories. If I want to continue to lose weight, I cannot eat large quantities of cheesy, creamy foods, and small quantities generally don't fill me up.

Part of the trouble comes down to seasonal issues. I don't like using the oven when it is 90+ degrees outside. We don't have central air, and our window a/c units keep the house pleasant until I turn on the oven. I don't like humid hot spaces.

When I address the seasonal issues, I don't find great options for the kids since they don't really do salad like I would. They will eat raw cut veggies, but veggies generally are sides for them rather than entire meals.

When I address the calorie issue, I find that the food is hit or miss with the kids. Grf.

Maybe I need to set aside one evening a week to do loads and loads of cooking. Get all the hot stuff made and ready to be reheated, store in fridge and use as appropriate. And this idea brings me right back to menu planning. If I'm going to cook at least a week of meals in advance, then I need to know what those meals are. Since we get our farm share box on Mondays, maybe I can try to do my planning on Monday? I'm not sure when I/we will do other grocery shopping in the fall, but maybe Tuesday will work even though that including the kids. In theory, including kids in grocery shopping is good - they learn about where food is bought (not its actual origin), and they can feel helpful when given small tasks. In reality, my experience of grocery shopping with kids is not so great. There is often much whining about who sits where and for "sample cheese" (icky white American cheese from deli counter).

Do you plan a menu for your family? How do you decide what to eat each week? Do you plan the menu and then shop or the other way around? Share what works and doesn't!

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