It's the time of year that tests the household grocery budget to the limit. With everybody enjoying more leisure time, it seems like every time you turn around the cupboards are bare.
Well, just bare of the stuff that comes in brightly colored packages. And crunchy stuff. And sweet stuff. And stuff that can be eaten without the aid of utensils.
One of my daughters once had a mini-meltdown after perusing the pantry by wailing, "There's nothing but INGREDIENTS in here!"
Yes. Ingredients for healthy meals, my love.
I want Summertime to be fun for my kids and I realize that having some fun foods around is part of what makes it a special time. But I just can't bring myself to spring for individually packaged Cheetos or Mini-Oreo Cereal.
Part of the problem with Summertime eating habits is that we are busy doing fun things that preclude any real meal planning. In our Hurricane Harbor Years, we'd drag our water-logged bodies home from a day at the water park, RAVENOUSLY hungry, and stuff anything we could in our mouths so we'd have enough energy to peel our wet bathing suits off.
The answer to this is to have easy meal items STOCKED and READY TO GO. 6 pm is not the time to start chipping away at a frozen pound of beef. You want to be able to walk into the kitchen and have something pretty nutritious on the table in about 30 minutes.
Today's Small Thing is to take stock of your pantry and freezer items. Can you list 5-10 meals you could whip up at the drop of a hat? If you have some packages of flavored rice, a can of chicken and some frozen green beans, you've got yourself a meal that will fill those little bodies a lot better than a bag of chips will.
I've got some ideas on menu-planning here, and true to form, they are easy and quick. You'll still have to have snacks on hand, but with a little bit of planning, you may not have to make meals out of them.
POINTS: 30 for checking out what you've got and what you need
BONUS POINTS: 20 for making a list of quick and easy meals you can have on hand for those days you're having too much fun to cook.