It's the urban edition of TreeHugger's new meal-planning and food-prepping series, "How to feed a family."
Welcome to the fifth instalment of TreeHugger's new series, "How to feed a family." Every week we talk to a different person about how they approach the never-ending challenge of feeding themselves and other household members. We get the inside scoop on how they grocery shop, meal plan, and food prep to make it go more smoothly. This week takes us to sunny Los Angeles, where a newly married couple has discovered the convenience of meal kits for getting food on the table. (Responses are written by Megan and edited for clarity.)
Name: Megan (32), husband James (33), and in-utero baby (almost 39 weeks)Location: Los Angeles, California
Employment: Both are employed full-time. James is an attorney at a record label and Megan is an ER nurse currently working for the pharmaceutical industry.
Weekly food budget: We don’t set a weekly food budget.
3 favourite or most common meals you cook at home:
Lately, James has been making a lot of organic turkey burgers that he seasons with paprika, salt, black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. They have been a great staple since they’re so simple and tasty. James eats them with toasted sourdough and I usually eat them over a bed of spinach or just dipped in mustard.
Something else we have made often since I’ve been pregnant is chicken chili. We use yellow onions, garlic, 4 bell peppers, whole peeled tomatoes, basil and lots of spices. It’s satisfying and lasts us several days.
We recently signed up for a food delivery service called Sun Basket. Neither of our families live nearby, so we thought this would be helpful once we have the baby. Per their website, they offer “fresh, seasonal produce from the country’s best farms. 99% organic, 100% non-GMO. Antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and wild-caught, sustainably sourced seafood from ranchers and fishermen we trust. Dietitian-approved meal plans like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more.” We chose the gluten-free option, although we may switch to Paleo.
My husband will eat anything. I’m the pickier one. I know that I feel better overall when I’m not eating gluten and the frequency of my migraines decrease. I like that the meals generally take only 30 minutes to prepare and everything you need comes in the bag. This is definitely not the cheapest food delivery service, but we prefer quality and have the luxury of being able to afford it.
1. How would you describe your diet?
When I am disciplined and motivated, I eat paleo. I am trying to get James on that bandwagon, too, but we aren’t there yet. He has significantly changed his diet since we met and is much healthier now, but he simply is not as health conscious as I am.
2. How often do you shop for groceries and what are your staple purchases?
We grocery shop when we need to grocery shop. I would say we go 1-2 times per week. I like visiting the farmers market on Thursdays one town over. About a month ago, we signed up for Imperfect Produce. We get those deliveries every 2 weeks. I make sure I always have plain yogurt, sauerkraut, eggs, spinach, almond milk, nuts, chicken, apples, and popsicles made with just fruit on hand. My husband loves his sweets.
3. What does your grocery shopping routine look like?
We have no routine.
4. Do you meal plan? If so, how often and how strictly do you stick to it?
We have never meal planned! I feel like we should; we just haven’t. I’m sure we will eventually, once baby girl is here and we have less free time.
5. How much time do you spend cooking each day?
Again, there is nothing regular/routine to our cooking habits. I do make myself breakfast daily, which only takes about 10 minutes.
6. How do you handle leftovers?
We eat them! I hate wasting food. We will put leftovers in the fridge if we know we will eat them within a few days. If not, we freeze them.
7. How many dinners per week do you cook at home, and how many do you eat out?
We do eat out often. What’s so nice about living in Los Angeles is that there are endless incredibly healthy places to grab a bite to eat. I go to the local mom and pop health food store for lunch a few times a week.
8. What are the biggest challenges in feeding yourself and/or your family?
The biggest challenge is that neither my husband nor I enjoy cooking. I wish we did! We recently started watching “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflix and we’re actually getting a little inspired to try experimenting more in the kitchen.
To read more stories in this series, click here.