I mentioned in my post about meal planning that I feel like I am maturing as a mother. I feel like I have meal planning under control and I really feel like this makes me a better parent. More organised, calmer at meal time and of course it helps Caspar with meal time too. It's required a change in thinking on my part not only to plan the meals but over the past few months we've also tried to buy organic and/or local and less from the supermarket. Not to blow the budget this has occurred gradually as we have found our way.
When I first started meal planning I changed the way we were eating. I started looking at recipes (with long lists of ingredients) and just couldn't keep up. I then figured that we could still eat the same old foods (that we actually like) just plan in advance. So I would take my list to the local markets to look for our same-old foods, disappointed when I couldn't find (or it took me hours to find) the right ingredients. This resulted in most of our food still coming from the supermarket.
Another change of thinking was required. If I was going to eat local I needed plan our food around what is available. I now start our meal planning on a Saturday, the day of our local farmers market. I go to the market with an open mind, I buy 4-5 meal bases (meat/fish/pasta), fruits and vegetables that are in season, dairy and additional (nuts, juice, chocolate, pizza, bread, small goods) items/treats.
When we get home I start meal planning around the produce we purchased. Later in the day we go to our local supermarket and/or our alternative market-place and pick up the additional items we need. We have been working with this for a few weeks and this week the tide finally turned . For the first time ever we purchased the majority of our foods at the farmers market. It feels good.
My tips? It was really important for me to know my basic prices per kg - especially with meats/poultry/fish. Initially I had no idea. I shop with Caspar and Otis so I tend to go to the markets near closing, it's much quieter the children can roam without being stepped on/getting in the way and most farmers reduce their prices or will throw in additional items in order to clear their stock. There are other really nice advantages; chatting to the farmers who love to see their produce eaten by charming little children, I can ask the farmers questions about the produce and what items they will have next week/what is about to ripen. This helps me plan/get ideas too. We'll be making strawberry jam next weekend!