“What are ways you are building and delivering meals now that give Charlie more autonomy in her daily meal consumption?“
(Charlie meal pairings)
When we first started this project, the goal was to make the transition to a new way of eating as easy as possible for Charlie. Minimal mental strain, and all that. I devised meals instead of dishes, and we packaged them accordingly (heyo divided lunch containers).
There were challenges that came along with this—not everything you want to eat together should be heated up for the same amount of time or even at all—but it meant that Charlie could grab two boxes from the fridge (lunch and a snack) and head into work. We even made tiny little dressing cups that were tucked into the salad boxes. It was a great (if labor-intensive) way to start.
One of the downsides of this way of packaging was that it limited Charlie’s meal combos to what I like. Which works for me, ‘cause, hey, I like ‘em. But Charlie’s palette, we have learned, is very different from mine.
Now, I portion out food for the entire week (vs one-two meals worth) and put all of one kind of food into one container. Charlie then packs her lunches the night before she heads into work and often sends us pictures of what she’s chosen to put together.
It’s almost never what I would have done.
And that’s great!
By adjusting from “meal planning” to “weekly food planning,” as it were, Charlie is able to get closer to the experience of planning (vs. just picking) her meals herself. Does she want garlic green beans and seared chickpeas along with her cumin shredded pork? Done! Does she want to pile some leftover Pakistani Kima onto her salad with some fresh salsa? You do you, Charlie!
Charlie’s talked before about how simplifying the meals early on was a key to her success—fewer options worked better for her at that time. Now we have a bit of a reversal: we’re six months in, and autonomy is key. Choices remind us that we are adults. And we are making good choices because we want to be healthy. (Most of the time.)