I had two of my best friends in town this weekend for the beginning of the holiday season. We had a fantastic time bumming around, chatting, and of course eating! Oh man did we eat! Our favorite phase of the weekend was, "I feel bloated." I know, this might be too much information, but it reminded me that the holidays bring gluttony in America to a whole new level.
Every meal we had this weekend was delicious, but mostly we ate out. The three of us are typically very healthy eaters, one of us even holds a degree in nutrition, so eating outside of our normal routines really took a toll on our bodies (and our pockets). The saying, "You are what you eat", is no joke. If you eat healthy food, you feel healthy. If you eat shit, you feel like shit. For me this weekend reinforced what this blog is really about - healthy, fresh, home cooking.
I prepare the large majority of my meals at home. It took a lot of practice (like 7 years) for me to learn how to purchase food properly. In light of this, I thought I might share with you some of my methods and my shopping list. My sister and I go to the grocery store and have produce delivered twice a month. We buy enough to last us two weeks and then eat in a manner that allows us to take advantage of everything we buy.
When thinking about produce, I try to think about having a variety of fruit and enough for us to have at least 1-2 servings a day, which we typically consume at breakfast. I order things that last for a short time, like strawberries, and things that last a long time, like apples. This way we eat the more perishable things first and the sturdier things in the second week. I also try to order lettuce for the two weeks and salad fixings such as carrots and cucumbers. The final touch on the produce basket is veggies for dinners and, of course, onions and garlic. Items like broccoli, hearty greens, potatoes, squashes, and the like will last for a while and provide many options for meals.
The grocery store is reserved for everything else. Our routine is fairly set. We can typically make it through the store in half an hour. We start with bread (two loafs), two gallons of milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, orange juice, lunch meat, a block of basic cheese and a few small specialty cheeses, three to four pounds of organic meat options such as chicken and beef, finally we end with pasta, rice, cereal, granola, and beans. Through trial and error we've been able to figure out how much of each items is the right amount for us. Occasionally we purchase long lasting items like oil, vinegar, flour, etc.
Having a variety of quality ingredients on hand makes cooking a delicious puzzle, where combining this with that can create almost anything you want to eat. It's much more cost efficient then eating out and much better for you.
Just something to think about as we enter the foodiest time of the year.