I've talked a bit about my family's diet in a previous post. Here is another take on it.
Quick, Cheap, Good: Pick Two
My husband has, since we met, talked about this phrase as related to the building of houses (he worked in home construction for a summer, just before we met). It applies to food, too. You want quick and cheap? Well it isn't going to be so good for you. How about quick and healthy (in my case, "healthy" specifically means low sodium)? Not cheap!
We're left with only one option - cheap, healthy, and time-consuming. Actually, a lot of what we do isn't time-consuming in standing over a pot, but things do require a little checking-up on throughout the day (bread, for example) or a good bit of advanced planning (cooking beans in advance, for example). And we plan an entire week's meals on Saturday, do our shopping that day (because we can get a discount on Saturdays), and I head to the co-op for bulk items on whatever day we can get a discount there (it changes every month). And I go to a third shop for our meat (we plan maybe one meat dish per week)!
Once I embraced this as my life (and have been lucky enough to be able to arrange life around all this), I found that I really enjoyed it. When other stuff gets in the way, it's awful. We can be flexible to a point, but it either costs us more money (meals at the co-op, where I can manage my sodium intake pretty well at the salad bar; more money spent on slightly-more-prepared foods) or we eat a bit less healthfully (i.e. we buy more prepared foods or eat fast food on the road). But on a day like this past Sunday (between The Beast and me, we made peanut butter, yogurt, granola, two poached chickens, chicken stock, beans, rice, tacos, salsa, and...ok, that might be it) when there's nothing else on my agenda but to do stuff around the house, and I have the patience to involve Bean wherever he's willing? I find it really blissful!
The dishes suck no matter what. I have yet to figure out where to find joy in doing dishes...