Awhile back, I wrote a whole series on meal planning. I also post bi-weekly meal plans so that people can see what we’re eating. But it occurred to me recently that I never really explained that section of the website: why I do it, how I do it, etc. And that there might be questions about it.
So today I’m going to explain it!
Every two weeks, I sit down and plan out my meals for the following two weeks. I write out rough sketches of what we’re having: a main dish, and maybe a note for a side dish. I don’t usually plan snacks, and I don’t usually write notes on preparation. I also haven’t been linking to the recipes on here, although I probably should (if they’re posted). Would that be helpful to anyone?
Anyway, some of my recipes for the upcoming two weeks are new — usually two or three. I plan them either because I am craving something I’ve had in the past (sometimes processed foods I’m intending to re-make with real food) or because I’m doing recipe testing for the blog or another cookbook (yup…got another in the works!). Those are often very vague because often, I don’t know quite what I’m going to do with them yet.
Some have been curious about “what” my family really eats. I preach on here about real foods, but you’ll see on my meal plan chicken nuggets, hot dogs, fries, and other things that most people would dismiss as “not real food!” While, if that food comes from factory sources, you are correct; that is not where we get ours! It is possible to buy excellent hot dogs. Our farmer makes some. Trader Joe’s has some. Applegate Farms makes some grass-fed organic all-beef hotdogs (if given a choice, my daughter would eat only those). These are a fast, easy, and still relatively cheap lunch. Which, by the way, we boil, we do not microwave. We also make our own chicken nuggets (you can find that recipe in Real Food Basics) which are excellent; and we make our own fries, too. There is nothing wrong with these foods when they’re made at home or bought from local farms!
(That’s something to keep in mind if you’re just starting your real food journey and have picky children who are used to Standard American Diet.)
It’s also true that I don’t always follow my meal plan exactly as it is (although most of the time I do). For example, last Sunday (which is actually when I wrote this) we had burgers and fries on our meal plan (which, of course, are grass-fed, organic, homemade), but I decided to make pastured ribs instead. Just because. Sometimes I have some bread for weekend breakfast, but Friday gets too busy and I don’t make it. This is just how it goes sometimes in the real world!
I also don’t take the time to note certain details. I don’t write “organic,” “pastured,” “raw” or other healthy terms on my menu. Takes too much time and space! I know I’ve sourced organic, pastured, or raw food. I don’t have to write “raw milk ice cream” every time, or “organic grass-fed burgers.” It’s much simpler to write just “ice cream” or “burgers” and know what I mean. And I added a disclaimer about this to the top of the meal plans recently, just in case anyone forgets.
The real reason I do meal planning? I just like to read what other people are eating. I like to see inside their kitchens, get ideas for new dishes or ingredients (or remember old favorites I’ve forgotten). It’s just…fun. And I thought that others probably have the same curiosity. Would anyone be interested in a blog “carnival” or link-up where we can all share our meal plans together? I think it could be fun!
Do you meal plan? Do you like to read others’ meal plans?