Friday, June 30, 2017

Food Makeover: Finding Balance & Ease in Weekly Meal Planning

foodmakeoverpin The thing about eating a better, specific diet is that meal planning becomes a chore like no other.

Consider this:
"When electricity in the alpha wavelength dominates parts of the brain, it's a sign that you are not hassled by small distractions, problem-solving, or, my peeve, meal planning. Parenting - any kind of caretaking - is a procession of small, endless decisions. Too often, I assume the executive function for the whole family, and I can almost hear my mind stomping out any rogue alpha waves. It's the sound of brain fry. 
-Florence Williams, The Nature Fix

Meal planning. The never-ending task of many-many micro decisions resulting in brain fry.

For my family, I have to meal plan around a diet that is gluten free, corn free, processed meat free, as full of healthy produce and as close to organic as possible, kid friendly yet minimizing processed food and GMOs, and within a very-very tight budget. It feels like climbing Mount Olympus on a weekly basis.

Why do we bother? Health reasons. Because a holistic, functional medicine professional told us that our eldest child would likely have life-long GI illness if we didn't make serious changes for the better. Not that we were ever bad by American standards, but certain things had to go.

Food Makeover: adding ease and creativity to weekly meal planning with CSA & food delivery services!

I feel like many people don't really understand the struggle, but when your diet is that complicated and you're already quite exhausted by the every-ten-minute requests of a three year old, it feels impossibly terrible.

Which means that our weekly meals are a rotation of grilled chicken, tacos, salad, and chili with gluten free mac & cheese subbed in for the boys.

Sigh.

When I ask my friends if they have any ideas, they're usually in the same boat. SO, I decided to give us a little bit of a food overhaul this summer.

Homemade gluten free pie with strawberries and rhubarb from our farm share

Part one? Farm Share. We joined a CSA that just started, actually, and the sort of "no choice in the matter" nature of what we pick up each week is getting my wheels turning - and also getting us to eat things we don't normally choose. Not to mention, it's local, in season, and much lower in pesticides than big farming.

Part two, is trying out food delivery services to see what we like. The cost is a bit much for a family of still-young-enough-to-be-picky boys, and I don't have oodles of time every day to cook and clean up after cooking. So I'm pitting them all against each other to see if any of them hook me. And at the very least, I'm getting some pretty great recipes and cooking techniques out of the experience.

Pinterest is a great resource, but I always felt like I'd just sit there, scrolling through an endless stream of pretty pictures, knowing I'd never spend that much time or money on something that looks delicious, but would get totally shunned by my boys.

So, here we go. I don't have all the answers (clearly), but I'm excited for some new resources to kick-start a little ease and creativity.

Are you also struggling to balance health with budget and kid friendliness? Follow along :)


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