Meals at Our House-Part One (and a Half)

When I shared my budget/meal series with my family, my mom made such a very good point, that I didn’t think to include in  Meals at Our House-Part One.

Let me share with you what she wrote:

“I was thinking about another aspect of our food standard; who determines what it should be?

Are we thinking healthy food intake?

Or lots of everything?

Lots of variety?

Something that has stayed in my mind is visiting with our lady friends in San Buena* and we were talking about what we were fixing for supper. Well, they had two choices. Really both had the same ingredients but mixed differently. And then here we are with multiple choices…rice or potatoes or pasta or beans…etc. etc.

It reflects on Dad’s YouTube he sent out the other day. We all have plenty but there is pressure (an unspoken standard maybe?) from within and without to have ‘more’ or ‘different’ or ‘something’.

Is it wrestling with the age old learning to be content with food and clothing?

I know this is off of what the original question was! But I do wonder if there is a pressure without taking into account how the bigger world around us functions, helping put things into a truth perspective. I remember feeling afraid that we wouldn’t have enough, or I didn’t know how to make it enough…but look, God did it! He did provide and here we all are today.”

*San Buenaventura, a small town in Bolivia, South America

Thanks, Mom, for those excellent thoughts.  I think before we start trying to make menus and budgeting, etc, we need to ask ourselves how we think about food.  And then ask God to correct our misguided ideas and expectations to align with His.  I should have started out this series with the way we think about food.  Who is it for?  What is for?  How much do we need?  Are there any “rights” or “wrongs” about food?  Like my mom wrote concerning our food standard, “who determines what it should be?”

I do believe that God gave us food.  To sustain us and keep us healthy, and because we have taste buds, we know that He intended for us to taste it!  I often think about what it was like at the beginning of time, and how it will be when God restores the world to His original plan. (Acts 3:21) I personally think we will still get lots of fruits and veggies, and I sure hope cheese and bread are still on the menu! : )

I don’t believe I know the answers to all these questions.  I am learning to sort these out myself.

But I will share with you a few Scripture verses that are often in my mind as I think about the role that food plays in our family.

Psalm 104:14-15

“He makes the grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth; wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread to sustain their hearts.”

This verse speaks to me of God providing for us what we need to be healthy and whole.

Proverbs 15:17

“Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.”

This verse speaks to my attitude about food.  I truly would rather eat another meal of rice with lentils or veggie stir-fry than have a house where my husband (or myself) is pressured to work more, do more, provide more, just so that we can eat “steak” every week.  And I’m not necessarily talking about steak, but any meal that requires a good portion of our grocery budget. I love that I get to stay at home and spend my days loving on my children (well, most days I love on them.  I admit that there are plenty of days where love is not abounding in this household.)  I would gladly adjust our budget and menu in order to work towards the dream that Chris and I have of me being a stay-at-home mom.

Proverbs 12:11; 27

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”

and

“The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.”

These verses speak to my need of being a faithful doer with what God has given us.  For example, it is better for me to actually a boil a chicken, using the broth and meat scraps for soup and setting aside the meat for a couple more meals, than for me to just sit and read someone’s blog about doing the same thing.  You know I love reading other people’s blogs, but my family is fed and satisfied if I actually put into practice what I read and learn.  My job is to use wisely what God gives us, His job is to make it “abundant”.

John 21:12 

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.”

I just love this picture of Jesus.  It is early morning, and he fixes fish and bread for His disciples for breakfast.  What’s not to love about this simple act of love which leads into a most beautiful conversation (and restoration) between Jesus and Peter?

Acts 10:15

“Do not call anything impure that God has made it clean.”

This is my reminder that God did give us the okay to eat meat.  I will enjoy the occasional steak here on earth, because I don’t think we’ll have it in heaven.  I just need to keep in mind, that if God created it-it’s okay to eat.  It’s the how much, what kind, where from, etc, that becomes the complicated issue!

I Corinthians 10:23

“I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial.  I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”

While God has given us freedom to eat everything, I need to be wise as to what we eat.  To ask myself “is this beneficial?  is this constructive?”
“Will this help me be healthy or hinder my health?”  This is the follow-up to the previous verse.

I Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

And this is my comfort, knowing that many times I have to make difficult choices about what I can afford vs what I think we need or what is healthy.  I am human and I only have human understanding.  So, I do the best I can before God.  Praying that in spite of my difficult choices, God’s strength will sustain us.  For His glory.

In my past, the subject of food actually led to legalism in my life.  But I know now that judging others for what they eat, what they didn’t eat, or how they eat, or when they eat, is simply not my job.  It is something that now days, I don’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole!  So, please know in the writing of this, I truly am just sharing my personal thoughts.  I think we all need to ask ourselves these questions, but I believe that, when following general guidelines that God has set forth, the answers to these questions can be as unique as each of our families and situations.

What thoughts form the foundation of your budget and menu making process?  What are the “guidelines” that you have when creating your weekly menu?  I have friends who are vegetarians, friends who will only use recipes that can be made in 1/2 hour or less, friends that can only eat gluten-free or dairy-free.  Like I said at the beginning, I am still learning how to think through these issues, and I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Author: Nichole

There are so many things about life that I want to share with my children, and this is simply my way to collect everything in one place.

2 thoughts on “Meals at Our House-Part One (and a Half)”

  1. Hi Nichole- I am so glad you shared your blog. We may not eat much meat, but this blog is certainly not “milk” ;0) The subject of food is so interesting to me. I love to eat and drink and truly believe that God meant for us to enjoy food. You are right, if not, why have taste buds?There are a zillion other ways he could have had us get nutrition.Also, I think food is another opportunity for us to practice self-control and good judgment. You wrote about so many things that I think about. I struggle with “legalism” too, but mine is inward focused so I choose to label it “perfectionism”. When I go astray in this area, I tend to get depressed because I am not living up to the health standards that I set for myself or am eating “bad” food or not exercising enough. I struggle with practicing the Grace and Freedom that Jesus died for me to have.

    Scripture says that we need to care for our bodies and I believe the main reason for that is so that we have the energy and vitality to do and be exactly what he wants us to be for HIM. When I feel lethargic, it is more difficult for me to have a good attitude and be “salty”. We want non-believers to be drawn toward us and not repelled by us and our beliefs. We want to be able to sow generously in other’s lives with all of our resources including financial, physical, and spiritual. Also, at the end of the day I am called to love people and one way God has allowed me to love people is through food. :0) How cool is that?

    Here’s how our meal planning goes. I have a financial budget and my focus is nutrition. I also need to plan several meals that I can make ahead for when I am on the road. Within those boundaries I have fun and “play”. I enjoy digging around on Pinterest and finding new recipes and trying them out on the family. I love trying to pack as much nutrition into a muffin or soup that the family still enjoys. I also know that the time our family spends together around the table is priceless.

    1. Lots of great thoughts! Practicing self-control and good judgment-so true. Do you think this is one of those things-like we’ve mentioned before-that we tend to take to extremes? I like what you write about “sowing generously in other’s lives”… I need to find out what meals you make ahead. I’m thinking about doing more of that again…freezer cooking, etc…to free up my time on weekdays.

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