Meal Planning and Eating Seasonally

Thanks to Ella’s (<3) comment on a post, we’re discussing Meal Planning and Prepping tactics this month! Being more intentional about your meals and groceries can save so much time and money. An hour spent at the beginning of the week saves hours of uncertainty later including multiple trips to the store. Plus, you won’t have any more of those “oh crap, I'm out of x” moments. ;) Wasting less food and eating out less often really helps the budget as well. We go to a pretty fancy market and still manage to save money versus shopping at the grocery store!

There are a few things I do to make meal planning simpler and more useful. I’ll talk about them over the next few posts. Meal planning doesn’t need to be overwhelming or a huge shift from your current routine. Maybe you’ll find an idea or two to incorporate that will make cooking and shopping a little easier or a little more fun! The first tip is one of my favorites and probably the simplest, depending on where you live.

I do most of my weekly grocery shopping on Tuesday morning at the Farmer’s Market. Greg actually comes along and we make a date out of it. Somehow, grocery shopping went from being a dreaded chore to a joyful outing that’s all about connection: to my food, my partner, my farmers, and my city.

Now, I’m lucky to live in this magical place with great markets and great local food... avocados and cherries, almonds and olive oil. Seriously? But most cities have markets these days and summer is the best time of year to start!

Start by figuring out how many fruits and vegetables (and depending on the market, even meats and cheeses) you eat in a week and use that as a guideline for what to buy. For example, five servings of fruit, four of vegetables, two of dark leafy greens and 4 oz of cheese. Then go walk around the market and notice what looks good or maybe even tastes good! Buy within your list and enjoy. Your choices might be limited but that can actually make meal planning easier. 

Buy local food if you can. The experience is nicer, the food has better flavor (omg, those tomatoes!) and you’re helping to support your local farmers. Out-of-season food has to be shipped across the world. Make sure it's worth it. 

Do you have any tricks that help you enjoy grocery shopping?