CEDAR PARK, TX–I’ve been in a meal planning slump lately.
I’m not even kidding. I went to the store at least six times in a week and STILL struggled to put together dinner every single night. Sometimes, I feel like my life is an episode of Chopped, where I have to take a random assortment of ingredients from my pantry and make something delicious…in a hurry…because everyone is hangry and we’ve got places to be.
I also travel a lot, so I get behind in meal planning sometimes. Ok, if I’m honest I stick with meal prep and planning for two weeks and then it all goes back to Taco Tuesday and Greek Taco Wednesday and Spaghetti Friday and Grilled Meat + Steamed Veg every other day.
I recently attended the Viva Fresh Expo in San Antonio, and there’s just something about that show that always inspires me to do better in the kitchen. Chef Seamus Mullen gave a fantastic keynote about the foods we should be eating. We all know we should…and we just need to buckle down and make ourselves do it.
And I have no excuse! I have a pretty unique position in the food chain with knowledge and access to so much information from brands sending me recipes to The Produce Moms to the Produce for Better Health Foundation — you name it and I’ve probably written about it, or at least read it.
So, with that in mind, I turned to a recent blog post I saw on Produce for Kids for some one-pot meals, which I think are the perfect solution to my time-crunched lifestyle.
My secret meal planning weapon? E-commerce. Nothing keeps me on task like ordering my groceries online. I love not having the distractions of foods not on my list (see my previous comment about random pantry ingredients: this is how it all starts). I also like the flexibility of being able to come back to an order in progress and add or take off things.
Walking through the store is often a hectic free-for-all, especially if I can’t get away without my kids. Having my 5-year-old at the store with me is a sure way to a $15 tray of sushi, rambutans and three kinds of popsicles.
Enter Walmart Grocery Pickup. No, they don’t pay me to endorse them. It feels a little odd for me to say I love Walmart for groceries because I puffy-heart-eye-emoji-LOVE H-E-B for everyday grocery shopping. What’s up with that?
H-E-B’s pickup is fine and all, but I’ve had nonsensical item substitutions, the wait to pick up is often half the day – or more – and … the worst: they add 3% to the price of groceries as a convenience feel. For me, this discourages stocking up. I’d rather pay a flat fee or meet a minimum threshold, like Walmart has.
And, honestly, Walmart’s system is seamless. It’s fast. The order pickers are extremely accurate. Any substitutions I’ve had were in my favor.
See for yourself: