How to Eat Homemade without Spending your Day in the Kitchen

While talking with my husband the other day we got into the discussion of how we could have more control over our food and our diet. Buying organic is great but is not often local. Eating out is fun occasionally but can come with a hefty budgets 
We started talking about our grandparents and how they ate and prepared food. Its crazy to think that just two generations ago we made everything from scratch. There was no McDonalds to grab when you were in a hurry. Most families gardened and canned most of their own food. 
So I started to think of how I could incorporate making amazing home cooked food for my family without totally disrupting today’s busy lifestyle. To be honest though, as with any habit, it will disrupt your current lifestyle in some ways. That is inevitable. But maybe our current relationship with time and food does deserve a little reflection. 
The first resounding theme that came up was:

Plan, Plan, Plan 

When I was young I hated when my mom would ask at breakfast what I wanted for dinner. Then I met my husband and his mom asked the same question. I realized this is just a mom thing. We get up thinking about how and what to feed our kids. Its just nature.
If you want to make homemade food that you produce, however, that is another level of planning. Some already do this which is awesome! Most of us are relearning to have control over our food. If you want to produce some of your own food as well as prepare it and serve a good variety; planning yearly, monthly and daily is a must.
What do I mean? Well, here in Montana we have a short growing season. Last year was my first attempt at a garden, and I quickly realized I planted some things way too late or too early. My heirloom tomatoes didn’t have a chance on my schedule. Depending on where you live you can play with your yearly growing schedule to produce the best crops. 
If you aren’t into growing your own food but still want to can some homemade goodness, there are a lot of options such as farmer’s markets and coops where you can find local produce. 
Now, if you are just wanting to eat better home-cooked meals on a daily or weekly basis without getting into the gardening or canning part, I have definitely found a few tips helpful:
Plan out all your meals a week or two (or a month!)  in advance. 
Set aside a day or two in the week where you make a few go-to meals for the week. Make several meals you can pull out of the freezer or fridge with little preparation. 
Have snacks in your backpack and car so you aren’t tempted to get fast food when you are out and hungry. 
Another interesting concept that was very common for our grandparents was:


My husband’s grandparents lived in the South of France so they had an amazing growing season. But they still had many things they couldn’t grow. So his grandfather would go help friends and neighbors with their crops, and in return they would share or barter each other’s crops. 
This is such a great concept that I think has got lost a bit over the years. We live in communities but seem to live more separated from our neighbors as we rely on big agriculture to fulfill our needs. I have nothing against our modern food supply technology. We are lucky to have it. But if we produced and shared a larger part of our own food we could create a sense of community on another level that we currently have. 
So perhaps find a small group of folks that also like to cook, can or garden and offer to share. They can make their favorite jam and you can make them a few pies. How fun would that be! 
Lastly, like I said at the beginning, it is a mindset shift:


I believe that the biggest catalyst to changing a habit is your mindset towards what you want to change. If you want to have a different relationship with your food, for example, then start by thinking differently about it. Get to know it on a better level. You can do this by growing a tomato plant or making bread from scratch. Creating a love for the process makes the activity more rewarding. 
You may need to get up an hour earlier or turn off a show in the evening in order to prepare your food or plan your week. It may be hard at first but when it becomes a routine and you start to see the “fruits” of your labor it can be incredibly rewarding. 
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