Meal Planning… (or the Sustainable Not-A-Diet)

planning

 

 

 

 

 

 

UW Health had recently posted an article on meal planning which got me thinking about the benefits behind our own meal planning.  My wife and I had made the decision to focus more on meal planning (which subsequently led to us eating increasingly healthier) sometime less than a year ago.  How noticeable has the change been?

We’ve noticed several benefits- not the least of which is some weight loss (my usually accumulated semi-substantial winter pounds have vanished this long winter).  Granted, we had been eating somewhat healthier/with more vegetables for a long while before this.   Occasionally, our pre-meal-planning conversations would go something like this around dinnertime, though…

Me: “What are you hungry for?”

Her: “I don’t know.  You?”

Me: “I could go for anything.”

(Cue trip to selected nearby fast food restaurant.)   And… scene.

Now repeat this on a somewhat-weekly basis, and we’ve added weekly fast food runs to our meal planning.  The aforementioned UW Health article refers unspecifically to a survey about increased fast food consumption.  While we weren’t at the 5 meals threshold they reference, the fast food adds up (but that’s not to imply that I have completely sworn off fast food, though…)

We have found that we don’t need to plan beyond the upcoming week, but planning, cooking a meal, and eating associated leftovers has helped our budget also.  We are not paying extra (with calories or $) for convenience and are still saving time.  Freezable foods are simple to store in our chest freezer for later, as well.  Give it a try- what do you have to lose?

 

A pantry staples reference/recommendation to get you started: http://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/pdf4/GRFW_Prepare_Pantry_flier.pdf

 

Advertisements

Soup Day!

Squash soup with wild rice

Yes, pomegranate in the background…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s National Homemade Soup Day!  And there are always plenty of ideas and flavors for soup…

I love soup.  It’s not the first time nor the last time I will say that on this blog.  I enjoy eating different soups as much as I enjoy making soup.  I like that it’s easy, aside from much chopping (sometimes)!  The above picture is of a curried squash and wild rice soup that I made a little while ago with the last of our squash we had from our Community Shares Agriculture (CSA) share.  I often make soups with the abundance of vegetables we get, especially in the middle of summer.  It tends to freeze well for winter, when CSA vegetables are nowhere around.  I tend to use spices instead of salt, almost to the point of under-salting, though the broth adds much of what I don’t.

The recipe turned out fairly well.  I followed some of the comments and caramelized the onions in brown sugar, as well as using tomato sauce for an acid instead of orange juice.  I also upped the curry powder a bit.  I baked the squash beforehand, which made it easy to mix together and used an immersion blender before adding the rice to cook.  We didn’t have any butternut squash left, but some buttercup squash combined with other squash worked just fine and gave it a nice color.  The wild rice (from our Minnesota trip) held up well in the soup and added to the texture.  It was nicely toothsome even in the tasty leftovers.  I would make this again, as we had been looking for some good squash recipes.