Saturday, June 26, 2010

Meal planning takes, well, some planning!

My client J., with some positive changes, and has lost 30+ lbs. She says it hasn't really been that hard to do. She moves more, but does things she likes: walking her dog, playing tag with her niece and nephew, and even jumping rope. She's cut the I'm-in-a-hurry-so-I'll-just-have-to-stop-at-Starbucks and now eats breakfast at home.

So what's her obstacle? Planning for the other 14 meals of the week. J. hates going the grocery store. But she has a CSA membership, and through Lost Arts Kitchen she sourced bulk organic meats which she has stocked in her freezer. Good ways to avoid the store, so now she just needs some meal planning to make those items work for her.

Here are ways to stay out of the big box grocery stores but still plan some meals.

Visit your farmers market. To avoid that sense of not knowing where to start at the farmers' market, here are tips to make your trip a success. And thanks to Kathleen Bauer over at Good Stuff Northwest, here's a complete list of all the farmers' markets in the Portland metro area. Not in PDX? Check out for an amazingly thorough list of CSAs, farmers' markets and more around the country.

Make sure to eat your fruits and veggies. So often people tell me they don't buy produce because the goods go to waste. Come on people! A lot of what's in the crisper is ready-to-eat. Carrots, apples, bananas, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower only require a washing before eating 'em. I've eat corn cut right of the cob an into raw lime- avocado soup. OMG was that good! Willing to put a bit of effort into prepping? I toss things like zucchini, onions, cauliflower, shrooms, sweet potatoes, etc in salad dressing or a marinade and grill them. Super easy and I make up a bunch so I can eat them on sandwiches later. For more produce-laden meal ideas check right here.

Puttin' in on paper. Sometimes I make a grocery list, sometimes I aimlessly wander through the store, spend $50, but have nothing really to eat. If you are trying to eat better then it's gonna take some effort and forethought. Eventually you'll develop new habits and it won't take a lot of conscious effort. But until then, make a plan, make a list. Here's a basic template from Unclutterer.

Try the little markets. I'm not talking mini marts. I'm talking little grocery stores that serve the neighborhood and usually an ethic crowd of some sort. Within biking distance of my house there are tons Chinese grocery stores, a taqueria/market, a Russian grocery store and one Korean. All of them have fresh foods to play with. Last night was a perfect example: I zipped over to Yesenia's Mercado and ABC Seafood Grocery to pick up a couple of things for dinner. Got bolillos (bread rolls), lemons, jalapenos, greens and some cotija cheese to make what I call my Grilled Veggie Sorta a Torta. I already had onions, cauliflower and zucchini, but I forgot the avocados. I also wanted to try grilling some nopales, but they were out. Oh, well. Damn tasty treat anyway.

Sorta a Torta with cotija cheese, grilled zucchini, onions, wilted greens, mayo and jalapenos on a bolillo. Yum!

So, does that give you some ideas? Have a plan, and experiment with what you have on hand and close by. And stay tuned. We will be heading to Fubonn Market again soon with Sami Scripter to learn more about what all those Asian veggies are and what to do with them.


Betty Lou said...

Num! I wanna eat at your place!

Hot Momma said...

How 'bout some hot weather menu tips?

I'm wilting. Lettuce cool down...

kristin said...

Hot Momma, that's a real groaner! ;-) But I was just thinking the same thing. I need to talk about some easy, cool eats for hot summer days. Stay tuned!

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