Discover some simple strategies for eating well. These tips will take you from planning to table with ease. Includes suggestions for menu planning, food shopping, and cooking.
How do you feel about the whole business of feeding yourself and your family? Chore or pleasure? For me the answer usually falls somewhere in the middle.
How can we nudge the needle towards the “pleasure” side of the scale? Over the years I have developed a number of simple strategies for doing just that. My simple strategies for eating well!
I have grouped these into four major steps: “planning,” “shopping.” “cooking,” and “dining.”
Maintain a list of meal ideas.
- Some of these may reference recipes.
- Others may be so simple that recipes are not required. For example, “veggie BLTs and corn on the cob,” or “mac and cheese with a simple green salad.”
Keep a record of recipes. I like to maintain two folders: “recipes” and “recipes — keepers.” The former contains some promising recipes that I may want to try. The latter contains those treasured tried-and-true recipes that I can rely on.
Keep food supplies “cleaned out.” This makes food shopping so much easier and avoids waste.
Get thinking about some possibilities.
- Inventory existing food supplies. Note any staples that are running low.
- Consider what is in season
Prepare a menu plan.
- Try to incorporate some existing food supplies, especially any that are near their expiration date. Also try to incorporate vegetables and fruits that are in season.
- Consider including prepared or convenience foods as part of some meals. For example, you could have a meal consisting of refrigerated or frozen raviolis plus a side of fresh baby spinach.
- Note takeout or restaurant meals you are anticipating.
Prepare a shopping list. This should be based on needed staples plus your menu plan.
Choose your sources carefully.
- Find a good basic supermarket. It should have most of what you want on a regular basis. Make sure it has quality produce, as fresh fruits and vegetables are so key to health.
- During your area’s growing seasons, shop at farmer’s markets and orchards.
Value trumps price. Of course price has to be a factor. But it’s value that truly matters.
Buy only what you can use. Food that spoils before you can use it is doubly wasteful — a waste of money, and a waste of the food itself.
Consider pre-prepped vegetables and fruits. Certain ones can be real time savers.
Think of others as you shop. Include an item for the food pantry box. Consider a little food gift for a friend.
Make cooking into a special social occasion. Cook with your partner or your children.
- Cook an extra portion to be given away.
- Cook extra to be incorporated into an additional meal..
- Cook extra to be frozen for another day.
- Be clever about using as few cooking implements as possible.
- Soak some of them as you go.
Choose a pleasant location. My favorite is alfresco.
Dine with other people. Food is meant to be shared and enjoyed with others.
What are your strategies for eating well? Please share!