Mindful Monday: gear up for a summer of seasonal eating

Fresh, seasonal food is my focus this week.

How did you do with the intention you set for last week’s Mindful Monday?  My intention was to get our summer sleep schedules back on track after they’d majorly derailed. We’re still staying up a little later than I’d like, but we’ve made some great progress. At the very least, I’m no longer gritting my teeth through a two-hour “bedtime.”

It’s amazing how effective it can be to hone in on a single, simple goal for a week. It really helps me prioritize so that the dozens of other things that come up don’t crowd out the important thing I need to pay attention to, and as a result I’m able to make a lot more focused progress on that one goal than I would if I was trying to accomplish too many Big Ideas all at once. I hope you’ll join us in setting a Mindful Monday intention this week!

Here’s mine:

Who: Mostly me, with a little help from the rest of the family

What: Rethink our summer food plan

Why: Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery starts this week, and I need to be ready! The great thing about joining a CSA: I’ll get an abundance of fresh, in-season, local (including lots of organic) produce each week at a fair price while supporting a farmer in my community.

The only downside? Dealing with large quantities of produce, including things I would rarely otherwise buy like turnips or beets, could be a recipe for a big green mess if I don’t get on top of my menu plan.

How:

  • Revisit the Six-Meal Shuffle to include more opportunities to use seasonal produce. I’ll probably have to keep re-visiting it throughout the summer as new fruits and veggies come into season, and figure out new ways to incorporate fresh greens into our several-times-a-week summer grilling lifestyle.
  • Recently I’ve started buying fewer groceries at a time than I usually would, and so far the results are what I hoped for – less food waste, more judicious use of leftovers, a more organized fridge and a cheaper grocery bill. A weekly influx of greens will challenge that system, but I plan to deal by further cutting my grocery shopping to exclude almost all grocery-store fruits and veggies, and coming up with more breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner ideas that are heavy in seasonal, local produce. I figure this will be good for our health anyway!
  • Learn about freezing and canning various types of produce and then come up with a plan for storing extras to last through next winter.
  • Talk to my kids about food: where it comes from, why it’s important, and why we’re making the choice to get our produce this way. Hopefully a little education will help them adjust their eating expectations. For example, my youngest son is a huge fan of apples; but this is just a bad time to buy them from the grocery store and of course, they won’t be available from the CSA until fall. Instead of framing this change as “depriving” him of apples, I need to think of this as providing him opportunities to eat better, fresher food: instead of always reaching for that apple, he will have more chances to eat a juicy peach at the height of freshness or enjoy a bowl of sweet, just-picked strawberries.

This all sounds like a lot to do in one week, but for me thinking about food can be really fun, and it’s something that’s important enough to me to dedicate some time to. And there’s no need to re-invent the wheel, here: mostly what I’ll be doing this week is scouring the web and library for recipes, ideas and inspiration to help me incorporate a much more seasonal way of eating in our home. Anyone have a great resource to recommend?

What’s your Mindful Monday intention this week? I’d love for you to join me in coming up with a summer strategy for eating more fresh, seasonal foods!

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