Help me with meal planning
I really need to come up with a list of meals each week to cook. I might even need to plan all three meals, as breakfast and lunch are the worst offenders for me.
I just hate it when it's 4pm, the kids are crawling on me or freaking out and I'm trying to figure out what primal meal to make. Usually with those last minute meals, I resort to something very non-primal, just so we get something in our bellies and it tames the kids.
So, how do you meal plan? Is there a website that would help me? And have primal options?
I think if I have a meal plan in place, it would be easier to stick to primal. To me, it's not easy yet, and if I have to really think about it or put in a ton of effort, I'm not going to do it. Lame, I know. It also needs to be kid friendly, as they are just getting on board too, but they still like SAD food.
I still struggle with this and get into ruts. I really think the old fashioned box of index cards is the way to go. Then playing least common denominator with expensive/bulk ingredients is the talent. I end up eating the same stuff over and over just so I don't have to think.
Blondiegreen, I totally endorse that meal planning will be key to helping you stick with primal. What I have found to work in the past is to make a general plan for the week (say on Sunday evening), then take it with me to the supermarket the next day. I will sometimes change it on the spot if my chosen dish turns out to be exorbitantly expensive and/or something else is on special. Then I come home and write the plan in cute colours and post it to the fridge. This reminds me when to get something out of the fridge or freezer, and I realised the family loved it too. It gave them something to look forward to and it got so they did not like me to spontaneously swap nights .
My approach to meal planning is kind of mix n match - meat (with varied seasonings), veg, starch.
For example: Butter chicken, broccoli and rice; Sweet and sour pork, sliced cabbage, kumara; Minted lamb chops, cauliflower, steamed carrots; Curry beef, silverbeet, pumpkin bake etc etc.
Breakfast can be the same every day, lunch can be dinner leftovers from the night before.
I'm still struggling with it as well but I figured out that not having the right ingredients in your pantry/fridge is the biggest issue.
That was my issue this morning, I ran out of material.
A few good tips I had were"
- make mini-meatloafs in a cupcake tin. it works brilliantly. and I think you can use it with a lot of stuff. not to mention your kids will like it as well.
- make a lot of meat in one go and put it in portions in the fridge. you can take that out for lunch.
- most veggies can be eaten raw, make sure you have carrots, lettuce, spinach, ect in the house to make a quick easy salad.
- make sure to have coconut flour in the house and eggs. you can easily whip up pancakes with that.
you can find many ideas here:
The New Chowstalker
Get a slow cooker and look for recipes online (there are plenty) or at Amazon. You will have time to spend with your kids, and you will have to learn to plan and get organized because 4 p.m. is too late to start.
Slowcooker is a great way to go. Load it in the morning while you can still think straight and you can even feed the kids at 4pm if necessary and leave yours there till you want it a couple of hours later.
Originally Posted by Farfalla
I'm just planning for me but I decide what I'm going to make before I grocery shop on Sundays. I also make something to eat on all week but that probably won't work for you-but you can still pick a day to shop and do prep (cut up veggies and fruit etc)
Oh! I also use pinterest to pin some 'primal' foods that looked good and when I don't have any ideas I look there.
I cook for two and here's what I do:
On Sundays (when I'm home all afternoon) I like to make something that takes a while to cook but that provides at least one dinner and several lunches for the week - beef bourgignon, primal lasagna (made with zucchini in place of pasta), curry chicken, pork carnitas, etc.
Or: I might roast two or three chickens, using the leftovers on top of salads or in casseroles. Make a couple of large meatloaves, we like to eat it cold even more than hot! Whenever the oven is on, I also roast big trays of vegetables, and you can do just about anything: onions, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, zucchini... you get the idea.
During the week I'll make large batches of quick things: a pot of chili or soup can come together pretty quickly and you can throw all kinds of veggies in there. Saute or grill lots of chicken or pork with just salt and pepper for seasoning, then you can easily change the flavor by making different sauces or incorporating the leftovers into different dishes. Seafood is a fast meal, if your kids will eat fish, although I generally don't make extras for leftovers as I like seafood to be fresh.
In addition to a crockpot, I love a pressure cooker for days when you couldn't pull it together in the morning.
Here is a link to Mark's shopping list guide: Primal Blueprint Shopping List | Mark's Daily Apple
And a link to a recent/current thread on what a pantry/fridge should have in it: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread95267.html
One thing that I've done even before Primal is that when I buy large packages of food, as soon as I get them home, I start breaking them down into portions I use. You have a family, so chances are you're not going to sit and break 4 pounds of ground beef into 16 four-ounce patties, but that's an example of what I mean.
I also like to keep some fairly non-perishable things like frozen veggies and a big bag of rice around. WhFoods carries a few varieties of organic frozen veggies.
I more plan for a variety of ingredients rather than specific meals. So when I stock up, I get beef, bison, lamb, and goat for my meats. Chicken livers are my liver of choice, but lamb and bison livers are also good. If you can get your family to eat liver once a week, that's one dinner down, and six to go. (Search "Paleobird pate" at this site, and in general liver, bacon, and onions are a good meal - add a little wine, serve over rice. Yum.)
Since it's a good idea to eat at least one serving of a fatty fish per week, salmon is my go-to. Now you've got two dinners down. I try to keep another fish around for variety, so for me it's generally squid, but a sale on oysters will lure me. And occasionally I'll try a local fish. During its season, I eat a lot of crawfish. I try to get fish caught in US waters or at least from a country that I trust. Wild usually (especially salmon), but oysters are farmed in an okay manner. Other fatty fish are sardines which are easy to find canned, and herring which are easy to find pickled (or pickled in sour cream which is so delicious, it should be a controlled substance). Salmon and tuna come canned also. (Mash canned salmon up with a couple of eggs and some GF flour and spices, make patties, fried in lard. Serve with mashed potatoes and homemade mayo.)
Make bone broth. There are tons of recipes here and to google (for google, search "paleo bone broth"). If you buy whole salmon, save the bones in the freezer and when you have enough, make a good fish stock. You can use the broth/stock that you make either on their own or as a base for something like stew or soups. (Oysters + heavy cream + fish stock + butter + potatoes + s&p = oyster stew that is soooo filling.) Broth + veggies + meat = a filling stew or soup.
I left out pork and chicken, which I know are staples for a lot of folks. For me, it's tough to find well raised pork (only one local grocer carries one I'll eat, and online prices are high), so pork is a once in awhile type food. The same with chicken because I'm just not going to pay $6/lb for chicken or schlep to the only farmers market where I can get it for $3/lb.
Make life easier by buying some things online. I currently spend more than 3/4 of my grocery dollar online, and I just found a local CSA that seems flexible and delivers, so that amount may go even higher.
Don't think of breakfast as a separate category. Make enough food for dinner, and left overs can be breakfast the next morning. If that's too weird, the leftovers can be lunch the next day. Conversely, bacon and eggs, or a frittata can be a great dinner.
I think scrambled eggs + a chopped veggie + maybe some cheese + a little meat, all baked up in muffin tins might be something children would like. It also freezes well and thaws quickly. My green eggs and ham (the spinach adds the green color) is searchable on this forum.
Take some things you used to love and try to Primal-ize them. Homemade french fries fried in duck fat will make you wonder how you ever ate "those other" ones. Julia Child said she stopped liking McD's french fries when they stopped frying them in beef tallow.
Keep various fats around: butter, olive oil (you can saute veggies in olive oil), lard, coconut oil (really good all around oil), beef tallow, and treat yourself to duck fat once in awhile.
So, basically, if you have the right ingredients around, it will make it easier. Make lists. Sit down one day a week and plan seven dinners. If you cook more than you need, those seven dinners will also yield a few breakfasts and lunches.
Good luck. The learning curve can be a little rough in the beginning, but it becomes second nature, eventually.
Oh yeah - Annie's advice: Meat + veggie + starch is a great jumping off point.
Lastly, try one new thing a month. It may just become a staple. I was hesitant about spaghetti squash, but dang, that stuff is good. Pasta gets embarrassed in the presence of spaghetti squash.
"Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine
Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.