Adventures in Meal Planning, Liquid Lunches, and Veggie Boxes
Even before I subscribed to a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, I was a meal planner. By loosely designing a week’s worth of menus, I went to the grocery store less, saved money, and always had the ingredients I needed for a home-cooked meal. It made my life easier, but lunch was always the toughest meal to plan around.
Frozen meals seemed to have so much sodium in them, the pre-packaged salads I tried would turn to mush -I’m looking at you, purple lettuce!- and the consumption of deli meat on a daily basis didn’t seem like a great idea. The other thing is, I’m most tempted to eat out during lunch. Give me all the bad things. Islands’ tacos, Copper Penny 109 Chicken Sandwich, Wayfarer burgers, how I love you!
What can I say? When it comes to lunch, I don’t want to be creative with my meal options. I want something fast, easy, and filling. Otherwise, I’m headed straight to mac n’ cheese town.
So I started incorporating smoothies into my routine. At first, I was only using frozen berries and a meal replacement powder – I currently use Orgain Organic Plant Based Meal Powder – along with some almond milk. Nothing fancy. Even then, I felt satisfied, and I loved that I never had to give lunch a second thought.
Then I subscribed to The Produce Box and started getting more kale than I knew what to do with. So I threw it in my smoothie! And then I threw some grapefruit in there and then some spinach. Granted, I have to give my smoothie a few extra blends now, but my CSA helped me take my liquid lunches to a whole new level.
Subscribing to The Produce Box was easy. The online interface is easy to use and every Sunday, I have to choose which kind of box I’d like to receive that week. There are options to remove existing items from your box if you’re not a huge fan of, say, cabbage, but the next step is where it can get dangerous. The Add-ons section is pretty impressive, with choices ranging from Hillsborough Chipotle Lime Goat Cheese to Pamlico Shrimp.
Not only have my smoothies become more adventurous, so has my meal planning. I’m forced to search for recipes that use what’s in the box, rather than searching for recipes that send me on my typical tour around the grocery store. Overall, I chose The Produce Box because it fits into my budget, had a great selection, and I also occasionally share a glass of wine with the lady who delivers in my area. What can I say? I cave to peer pressure.
Even if the idea of smoothies for lunch makes you want to curl into a ball, you need to check out CSA’s. The Produce Box is one of the larger operations, fielding produce and other items from over 70 farmers and 90 artisan food businesses throughout North Carolina, but there are some CSA’s that work within close proximity to Wilmington. Picking the right CSA depends on your budget and your lifestyle, but subscribing to any of them is a positive choice. Not only do they help support local farms, but it forces to be more creative in your healthy eating habits.
Here’s a quick round-up of CSA’s you can check out! Did I miss any? Have you subscribed to a CSA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
- Greenlands Farm in Bolivia, NC
- Humble Roots Farm in Wilmington, NC
- Red Beard Farms in Castle Hayne, NC