Recently, I posted about Family Meal Planning. This was one of the changes that we made to our house as the kids were getting to the point of eating more of what we would eat. My intent for that blog was to have a guide on how to create a family meal. Now, it is to add in some more of the things that we have chosen to practice as a way to switch it up with seasonally fresh foods.
Why Eat Seasonally?
Seasonal produce is harvested when it is at its best. This produce will have better flavor and be more nutritious when it is compared to the same produce picked too soon or that has been artificially ripened. Some seasonal produce may be hindered a bit though due to the possibility of long-distance transportation to some areas.
One of the best ways to get your produce at its best is from local farmers. Local growers can give you details on how the food was grown. Essentially, you can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. Farmers’ markets, CSA programs, and local food initiatives create opportunities for people to connect, share knowledge, and celebrate the bounty of the region.
Check out your local farmers’ market here.
Also, you can check out Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs operating in your area.
Buying locally has the added benefit of helping support local farms, and maintain farmland, and open space in your community. Plus, when food is grown, processed, and distributed locally, it generates jobs and helps stimulate local economies.
Finally, when crops are abundant due to being in season, their cost tends to decrease. Locally sourced, in-season items are even more affordable as they don’t require costly transportation and storage. Conversely, out-of-season produce, often imported, comes with higher expenses, including shipping and storage costs, which are ultimately passed on to consumers.
Changes in Availability
Where you are located may change this a bit due to varying environments and temperatures. Check out the Seasonal Food Guide for more specific information for your state.
Also, check out my post on how to store fresh produce properly.
Back to the Meal Planning
We have meal planned in a variety of ways but our favorite is a weekly rotation of the same meals every month. This offers an ease of decision, meal preparation, and variety that is more controlled to not have a big financial aspect involved too.
How we do this?
- Each week we chose one of the four recipes on a particular day of the week.
- We replace recipes that we are getting tired of as a family.
- There’s room for a new recipe. There’s room for takeout. There’s room for an easy meal.
- We will allow the days themselves to not be fixed. If we need to do a crockpot meal on Monday and takeout on Wednesday, we simply shift our week.
- Meal prep day is a day that we take it easy on ourselves to focus on what is more important; setting up meals for the week for breakfast and lunch instead of worrying about preparing a Sunday meal.
A Sample of a Weekly Rotation
Monday – Italian Food
Tuesday – Mexican Food
Wednesday – Easy Meals
- Turkey burgers & tots
- Spaghetti & meatballs
- Fish stick & shrimp tacos
- Eggs, bacon & waffles
Thursday – Crockpot Recipe
- Crock-Pot honey garlic chicken
- Crockpot white chicken chili
- Slow cooker chicken tikka masala
- Crock-Pot potato soup with chicken
Friday – New Recipe
Sometimes I’m just mentally not fully bought into anything that we usually do and this is the one day that I have some more time on my hands to cook something that maybe takes longer than 30 minutes.
Saturday – Takeout
We are usually completely cleared out of food by the time Saturday comes or we are working our way through any leftovers.
Sunday – Meal prep day and dinner
Dinner is a rotisserie chicken, bagged salad, French bread, deli cheese, and mini cupcakes
For the Fall…
We tend to focus specifically on our favorites from the fall that will not be in season in the next season first.
What will no longer be in season by winter?
Bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, grapes, green beans, lettuce, mangoes, mushrooms, peas, radishes, raspberries and spinach