Meal Planning with The Fresh 20

Stephanie and I have 3.5 year old twin girls, and my frequent joke is that we have no business having kids because we can barely feed or clothe ourselves some days. We both enjoy cooking, but far too often the last four years we’ve stared at each other at 5pm and asked “What do you¬†want to eat?” And far too often, that has resulted in us getting unhealthy take-out, spending too much at a restaurant, or eating separately from the girls. Constantly having to think about dinner menus and grocery shopping was adding a lot of stress to our lives.

For the past six months, we’ve subscribed to The Fresh 20 and have loved it. For about $5 a month, you get access to a weekly menu with five balanced dinners, a shopping list with no more than 20 ingredients, and a checklist for things you should have stocked in your pantry. They offer Classic, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free menus.

There are several things I love about this service. First, we no longer have to think about what to make each night, when to go grocery shopping, and how much food to get. Having a menu and grocery list takes away all the thought (and stress) about what to do for dinner. Second, we found ourselves shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store and very rarely venturing into the aisles; we buy a lot more milk, cheese, meat, seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables, and a lot less boxed, frozen, canned, and processed foods. We also waste a lot less food because all the things you buy are accounted for in the recipes you make that week. Finally, it has promoted family meal time each night, which is currently very frustrating with our two wild animals, but will hopefully pay dividends in the future.

There are a few recipes we would have never tried on our own, but we’ve learned to trust the system and find ourselves enjoying new things. We are starting to see a few recipe repeats after six months and some recipes we’ll skip because it’s not worth the headache (like homemade chicken nuggets). But all in all, we’ve been really pleased with The Fresh 20, and are going to stick with it.

Our CSA Experience

Be Wise Ranch Delivery – 12/18, originally uploaded by jcarter.

We recently joined a CSA, Be Wise Ranch, which has had a huge positive impact on our diet. Every Tuesday night, I drive a couple of miles to a house in Clairemont to pick up our small share, which costs $20 a week.

The picture shown here is our delivery for 12/18, which included:

  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Spring mix
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Grape tomatoes
  • 7 slicing tomatoes
  • 3 potatoes
  • 6 oranges
  • 4 limes
  • 3 apples

It is a lot of food for just the two of us; we cook dinner every night and still struggle to get through the produce each week. It’s worth the effort though because it forces us to eat leafy green vegetables and more fruit than we would otherwise. I also love that it’s all locally grown, in season, and 100% organic.

I’ll post more pictures as the deliveries arrive and share some of the recipes we’ve used along the way.