January Focus On The Home: Meal Planning

Hi there!  Do you know where your meals are?

A very important part of both La Leche League, Attachment Parenting and Waldorf is a focus on nutrition derived from whole foods.  Waldorf also brings in the concept of warmth through food.

I don’t like to dwell specifically on HOW one should each – that really does make me bonkers and you can see my post when I was ranting about this here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/04/05/the-mini-rant-discussing-food-with-children-under-the-age-of-7/  , but I do think no matter how one chooses to eat, it should involve mindfulness. 

I will at some point post some things about an anthroposophic view of eating, just for fun, but here are a few things to ponder to help you get organized:

First, do you have a menu plan each week?  If you abhor making your own and making the grocery lists that go with it, here are a few options for dinner:

Do you have a plan for breakfasts, lunches and snacks?  If you say that the first snack of the day always involves the grain of the day or is always cut-up vegetables with a homemade dip, this simplifies meal planning.  If you are searching for the grain of the day and trying to incorporate that into your week, try this back post:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/23/steiners-grain-of-the-day/

Melisa Nielsen has a lovely post about her “Snack Tray” here:  http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/a_journey_through_waldorf/2009/03/behold-the-wisdom-of-the-snack-tray.html

Do have a rhythm as to what day of the week you shop and what you buy when?

For the way we eat, and for those of you who want to eat with whole foods, many times there are no cost-savings coupons available.  I suggest connecting with your local farmers or farmers market and eating what is in season.  I have farmers now to supply any meat my family would eat in bulk, eggs, cheese, raw milk, vegetables and there is a farmer’s market (granted 41 miles away!) where I can buy cases of organic oranges and young coconuts, for example.  Sometimes smaller ethnic grocery stores also have good deals.

If you do shop in a store or at a farm, don’t rush.  This is a great opportunity for your small children to learn in life.  Make a morning of your “market day.”  Too often I see parents rushing through shopping and I wonder why. Nourishing our families in warmth and love should be important enough to teach our children about it in an unhurried manner.

Third, do you have a daily rhythm to how you cook?  I think with small children as much preparation ahead of time is good as many children are not happy around meal time – that witching hour!

Here are some suggestions for dealing with the dinner hour:

  • For those of you who are not eating raw and are cooking things, I suggest using a crock pot for wonderful bean soups and other warm meals.
  • Try feeding the children a small snack whilst you cook.
  • Involve the little ones in your cooking as much as possible – keep your gestures light, warm and loving.  Start dinner early so you have time.
  • Give your children some leftover spices or dough or whathave you to make their own concoctions!
  • Try also setting up a small play scenario near the kitchen so your little ones can weave in and out of work and play.

Please don’t forget that an integral part of cooking is the tender way you wipe the counters down, clean off the cabinets, dry dishes – sing, hum, immerse yourself in the task and your children will see the revernce and love one can find in the ordinary.

Much love,

Carrie

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11 thoughts on “January Focus On The Home: Meal Planning

  1. Thanks so much for linking to me. I try to involve Elijah in the cooking as much as possible. He just turned 2 so he wants to try everything and do everything by himself, which can be challenging. But it’s fun to be able to let him start to do some things by himself like crack eggs and such.

    I especially love your last line:

    “sing, hum, immerse yourself in the task and your children will see the reverence and love one can find in the ordinary.”

    very beautiful,
    Sarah

  2. Hi Carrie

    I am doing my meal planning for the week and took a little break to reward myself to a quick look at your blog.
    Thanks for the info on the grains for the day, I was looking for information on it and want to incorporate it into our rythm.

    I have never experience the ‘witching’ hour with my children as my firstborn always ate best at lunch time and it became our main meal for the day since he started solids. My husband comes home after our 5pm dinner time, so I save his meal for him at lunch time instead of dinner time. I find it easier to prep the meal early in the morning and the children seem to be more relaxed and able to entertain themselves earlier in the day and then I am free to give them attention in the afternoon when they often seem to be more high need.

    We have a ‘special basket’ snack tray in our house. I come up with the idea when I was breastfeeding our new born. It felt that as soon as I sat down DS wanted a snack, even giving him a snack just before I sat down to breastfeed didn’t help. I introduced his special basket. I fill it with a few choice titbits (choices I can live with) and store it in a cupboard ‘my big boy’ can reach. We still have our regular snack times and use the basket for in between. Now DD is stealing bits from his basket so I have to pack one for each of them.

  3. Hi Carrie, Again, you write words that are so timely for us. We eat organic, whole foods and have been spending an absolute fortune on foods – alot because I have not been planning our meals/list of what we need – shopping without a list is disastrous and expensive. We have just been re-focusing on shopping weekly, Chilli and I shop on a saturday morning, it is our only outing for the week, and we really enjoy the time together doing the shopping. We shop at a great local organic shop where they have little wee trolleys and Chilli loves to get her own trolley and ‘shop’ with mummy. It is a lovely experience. Thank you so much for the links with the food ideas. We have just incorporated into our rhythm this year eating the grains of the day and having a particular meat or bean each day. We also eat our main meal of the day in the morning as the protein wakes us up and our body then has the day of activity to digest it, and we have our grain/carbs of a night time which make us sleepy! The old adage of ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper’. It is working well for us. love and appreciation xxx

  4. Great post. One thing that helps me on days when I just don’t want to drag myself away to get to cooking is remembering the loving gesture that cooking is for my family. It always softens me a bit and changes the energy I put to it. Then once I get into it – wow because I know it the meal is done and generally, lol… I have a happy family.

    Planning the meals out is a must though… without that I would be lost.

  5. I have to follow a meal plan. We have homemade pizza night on Mondays, burrito night on Tuesday, soup night on Wednesdays, pasta on thursdays, and leftover on Fridays. I can change the vegetables seasonally while honoring the staples the meals are based on. On Sundays I usually put on a pot of rice and a pot of beans and keep them in the fridge for quick meal preparation. Cook up, eat down. Chopping vegetables is one of the most centering activities for me, and I try to include the children in that, but it depends on the day.
    Great post!

    • Angie, I like this idea a lot – the pizza, burrito, soup etc night. I have heard quite a few mothers who use this successfully, so thanks for bringing it up again!

  6. Pingback: weekly meal planner – Create Your Own Easy Meal Planner at Lutongbahay.com

  7. Hi Carrie,

    Firstly I’d like to say thank you for all the work you put into this great blog, it’s a constant source of inspiration for me and wonderfully helpful, to many others as well as me I’m sure.

    Secondly, I recently went through your site to another woman’s blog, and looked at her great meal planning. She had a really detailed week’s plan, and another done each week, called ‘Mealplan Monday’ or something like that. I can’t now find it and wondered if you had a moment whether you could put a link or other clue to it.

    Many thanks and best wishes,

    Jess

  8. Pingback: Mealtimes: Eight Facets Of A Healthy Family Culture | The Parenting Passageway

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