Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to figure out some quick and easy convenience foods that are not as much of a compromise as $5 pizza.
Summer is often the time of being on the run, vacationing, and certainly not wanting to spend all day in the kitchen even if you’re home all day.
It’s tempting to just grab a pizza sometimes, isn’t it?
And it’s not that there’s anything inherently and truly evil about a white flour pizza every so often. Most families can compromise on el perfecto diet and not pay the consequences. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick meal that’s almost as convenient as a $5 pizza without missing out on quality nourishment?
If your family has food sensitivities or are following a serious diet like GAPS, you know you can’t compromise. It’s mighty nice to have a meal that doesn’t take too much work though, isn’t it?
Today’s mission will explore some ideas for quick, nutrient-dense, properly sourced meals that you might want to rely on in these whimsical summer days.
Last summer, when we were in the throes of moving and having a baby, I wrote a few good posts on quick meals:
- Convenience Foods that Aren’t a Compromise (stuff you can buy that might cost a little more than your usual frugal fare, but still not as hard of a hit to the pocketbook as eating out)
- What to Eat When You’re Too Busy to Think (quick meals, packable meals, …)
Picnic Style Meals
Sometimes you don’t need a main course, side dish, and salad. Follow Life as MOM’s lead and serve a meal that’s just a bunch of things on the same table:
- Quality cheese (more on sourcing cheese later this week in the Sourcing Quality Animal Products series)
- Crispy nuts
- Homemade yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit or green smoothies
- Popcorn (why not? You gotta have some fun, and serving kids popcorn for dinner is fun)
- Fresh fruit
- Veggies and homemade ranch dressing or a yogurt cheese based dip with fresh herbs and garlic
- What else?
We talked a little bit last week about how the real food lifestyle lends itself to whole chickens, and I think many of us agree that we miss the simplicity of throwing some chicken breasts on the grill, adding baked potatoes and calling it a meal. I figure that Costco organic chicken breasts, while pricey and still probably not perfectly raised, are a far cry better than eating out, both for the body and the budget.
Here are some other quickie meats we splurge on, just for “sometimes”:
- Applegate Farms lunchmeat (we’ll explore “natural” lunchmeats in today’s other post!)
- Nitrate-free sausages from Costco – they’re not even organic, so they’re barely a step up from regular old junky meat, but if it’s between that and the white flour, trans fats, and junky meat that my kids would choose if we ate out, it’s still the better part.
I often point to Chipotle as an example of a restaurant that has a good food philosophy, sourcing from smaller farms that raise their animals humanely. We have a new place here in Grand Rapids called The Green Restaurant that also sources all its meats well and even has gluten-free bread options. (It’s right where we used to live, so bummed about that, but we went up there once and really enjoyed it.) Check out my Grand Rapids local real food resources page for more sustainable and nourishing restaurants in this area.
In truth, it’s really difficult to eat out and not compromise on something, which is when the 80/20 rule comes into play and you just remember that, unless you’re on a strict diet or have food sensitivities,little junk won’t kill you.
I’d love to get more good advice from the KS community –
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.