OK, that “no shopping required” part is a tiny lie. I did stop at our neighborhood natural foods market last weekend to pick up a loaf of sourdough bread, bulk sea salt and a box of our new favorite tea (Celestial Seasoning’s Bengal Spice) and today to pick up a cabbage, a few bananas, and several boxes of our new favorite tea (it was on sale!). But we walked the three miles round trip, so it was healthful double duty.
My larger point here is that we had a week of delicious, healthy eating, and 95 percent of it was supplied by our well-stocked freezer, fridge and pantry…with the vital addition of our weekly fresh produce delivery from Full Circle.
It’s a great strategy to plan meals around what frozen and/or non-perishable goods you have on hand + whatever fresh ingredients are on sale. I’ve tweaked that slightly, basing meas on whatever produce is available from Full Circle. Most weeks, I don’t deviate a lot from the standard offerings, maybe switching an item or two with one of the fruits or veggies on the substitution list. I also watch the prices of items in the Green Grocer section, adding extra kale or whole grain bread or apples when they are at an especially good price.
I count last week as a good eating week because nothing I made was overly ambitious (i.e., eating into my study time), but it was all healthy and tasty. We had plenty of leftovers for lunches and dinners, but not too much that it felt repetitive. It’s a good strategy not just for working grad students like me, but for working parents and anyone who just can’t (or doesn’t want to) spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Here’s what we cooked last week, in chronological order:
- French green lentils, with sauteed garlic and spinach + Dijon mustard mixed in
- Grilled organic chicken breasts
- My favorite Russian egg and mushroom salad
- Beef stew with dried plums (a great Mark Bittman recipe) + mashed potatoes
- Tuna and (canned) white bean salad with capers, walnuts and homemade vinaigrette
Throughout the week, we roasted Brussels sprouts and broccoli as needed to eat right away or to have in brown-bag lunches. We also ate lots of cooked leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, chard) and fresh green salads. For fresh fruit, apples, pears, kiwi, satsumas and tangelos were the main players this week. Carrot and celery sticks found their way into lunches and snacks, often with hummus for dipping. Breakfast foods included oatmeal, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, toast and pancakes with peanut butter and fruit compote.
We did have dinner out on Friday (a combination pre-birthday dinner and hooray-I-think-I-found-a-thesis-project dinner) at Tutta Bella.
The beef stew and the egg salad were the only true recipes I made (and I’d made the egg salad several times before, so I only had to double check proportions before throwing it together. Everything else was simple single ingredient cooking (greens, roasted veg, lentils) or no-brainer assembly.
Other than those few items I specifically mentioned buying, every piece of fresh produce was dropped at my doorstep by Full Circle, and every other item came from our freezer, fridge or pantry, and was purchased on one of our infrequent stock-up shopping trips. Which is fantastic, because if I had to do full-on grocery shopping every week on top of everything else I have going on, I would probably either end up bashing my head against a wall or eating a lot more take-out food. It’s a toss up which alternative is less supportive of good health. 😉