kitchen Feature

October meal planner 2 - Eating seasonally



meal planner eating seasonallyI’m often asked, ‘ Should we stop buying imported ingredients and go for local seasonal options instead?’ I always give the answer by asking another question - 'Are we able to get all the nutrients at the price we can afford by shopping for local ingredients only?

The answer is probably yes because past generations have done it. However our diets would revert back 50 plus years creating problems for most home cooks whose families have come to expect variety throughout the week.

About our family meal planner
This week's family meal planner
Shopping list

It is possible to have a balance by eating seasonally and now that we are really coming into the colder wetter season, ditch cold food. These include salad ingredients (all of which are imported). Opt for tinned tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, spinach, sweet and winter potatoes etc which will be grown locally, and are a better choice nutritionally and economically than opting for lettuce and cucumbers etc. Apples, plums, pears are all in season and good value, fresh strawberries and other berries are not, so best avoided.

Use plenty of spices and dried herbs during the winter months, these contain the micro nutrients we need for general wellness and protection against diseases and of course provide variety without adding huge cost to the shopping basket.

Did you know turmeric a bright yellow spice, is good for protecting us against cancer. Add pinches in soups, stews, batters, baking and rice.

My meal plan this week concentrates on local ingredients spiced and flavoured with dried natural spices and herbs. Use half the amount of dried herbs to fresh herbs as the flavour is more concentrated in the dried variety.

About our family meal planner

The meal plans for the week are inclusive of animal and plant protein such as fish, white meat, red meat and eggs.  You'll find nuts, chickpeas, cheese and seeds on the meatless day. Sian comments that the secret to affordable, healthy meals is to plan ahead to make sure you are stress-free, and have the right ingredients in the correct amounts in your kitchen ready to cook.

These family meal planners are made up of dinners that are child friendly, forming part of a weekly balanced diet. It will give you plenty of nutrients from each of the food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals), says Sian.

Every week, Sian provides you with five simple recipes to plan. You can decide when to make them, on whichever day suits you best. There is also a shopping list (below) that can be printed ready to take with you to the supermarket.

This week's meal plan

Shopping list

Cereals, grains, pasta

Breadcrumbs (or dried bread) - 1 and half cups
Cornflour - 1tblsp
Plain Flour - 420grms

Dairy and egg products

Eggs - 1       
Milk - 300mls
Parmesan Cheese (or cheddar) - 50grms
Butter - 240grms

Fruit

Apple (eating) - 1
Apples Cooking - 450grms
Lemon - 1

Meat, poultry, fish

White Fish e.g. Haddock, sea bass, whiting - 4 portions
Hock - 1
Lean Mince Beef - 500grms
Streaky Bacon - 2-3 slices
Pork Tenderloin - 2kg (approx)
Chicken Fillets - 2

Store, cupboard, ingredients

White Beans - 1 tin
Tomatoes - 1 tin
Beef Stock Cubes or pots - 2
Chicken Stock cube - 1
Red Lentils - 1tblsp
Tarragon - 1tsp (dry)
Soya Sauce - 2tblsp
Olive Oil - 4tblsp
Marmalade - 2 tblsp
Custard (dried) - 2tblsp
Spices and Herbs
Chives Dried - 1tsp
Parsley - 1tsp       
Bay Leaf -  3
Black peppercorns (optional) - 6
Basil Leaves (optional) - 8        
Grated Nutmeg - 2pinches
Cinnamon - 1tsp

Vegetables

Potatoes - 2.5kg
Onion - 3
Leeks - 2
Red Pepper - 1
Spinach - 1 small bag
Cabbage - 1
Carrots - 10
Parsnips - 4
Frozen Green Beans - 1pk

Sian is a home economist with over 25 years experience as a secondary school teacher and now running her own private cookery school with a focus on meal planning. After years of seeing people struggling to provide healthy meals everyday for their families, she created her own meal planning system at Siansplan.com.





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