I’ve Been Using a Meat Subscription for 4 Months and Here’s How It’s Transformed My Meal Planning
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Oh, dinnertime. I fully, experientially understand why those hours before bedtime are called the “witching hour.” Tired parents called upon to wrangle tired, cranky, hungry kids, feed them, bathe them, and get them to bed — and also make a nutritious meal somewhere in that mix? No wonder it’s the most challenging time of day!
I love to put home-cooked meals on the table for my family. Truly, I consider it an honor and a privilege. When I plan and am able to prep ahead of time, meal times go fairly smoothly. But those (frequent) weeks or days when things don’t go according to plan or I haven’t even been able to plan at all? Those are almost always a recipe for frazzled evenings.
A few months ago, I decided to try to simplify our meal planning situation by ordering a Butcher Box, a meat subscription service. I signed up during a “free bacon for life” promotion and chose how much meat I wanted for our family of seven (we get the Custom Big box, which includes 18-26 pounds of meat) and what types. The meat is delivered packed in dry ice and has always been well-packaged and completely frozen on arrival.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much this easy choice has changed my meal planning process, and in ways that aren’t all directly related to eating. Here’s how Butcher Box has transformed this critical part of my week along with our family meals:
Butcher Box gives me an easy way to put my money where my heart is.
I feel good about the values I’m supporting when I buy from Butcher Box. The meat selections in my box are high quality, sustainably sourced, and humanely raised. Not only does this allow us to align our purchasing power with our ethics, but it’s a difference we can taste. One of the first meals I made with Butcher Box chuck roast prompted my husband to ask where I got the meat. My kids also love Butcher Box bacon and far prefer it over “the other kind.”
Having meat on-hand jumpstarts my weekly meal planning.
I’ve tried having nightly themes that I repeat every week, but the habit has never really stuck for me. Even after years of meal planning, I still often feel like I’m staring out toward a faraway horizon when I set out to decide What’s For Dinner for a week. Having some meat selections already in my freezer gets me over the inertia. Instead of “What should I make on Monday, Tuesday, etc.?” the question becomes, “What do I want to make with the chicken breasts, chuck roast, salmon, etc. this week?” The shift is subtle, but it’s enough to kickstart my planning, and that sets in motion everything else that makes mealtime easier (grocery shopping, prepping, etc.).
We eat less meat.
Yes, you read that right. The meat I get from Butcher Box is more expensive than the meat I used to buy. (Totally worth it, in my opinion, for the reasons mentioned above.) This means I buy less meat overall. Because of this, I find myself stretching our meat by using it in recipes like soups or salads. In addition, I sprinkle more frequent vegetarian meals into our rotation. It’s a change I’ve wanted to make anyway, and Butcher Box has given me the nudge I needed to make it happen.
We waste less (and save money).
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but too often I’ve let meat go bad in the fridge and had to throw it away. Butcher Box meat comes frozen, so rather than remembering to freeze something if plans change, I only have to remember to defrost items. This switch has meant less waste for our family, and, ultimately, along with eating less meat overall, has saved us money.
I’ve gotten more adventurous with my cooking.
It’s all too easy to get into a cooking rut when you cook for up to ten every night (that’s what I do: cook for seven with enough for leftovers). But having a freezer-full of roasts, pork butts, and salmon has prompted me to add new recipes to our rotation. So “special” meals like pot roast have become more routine, and this, in turn, has elevated some of our family meals. There’s just something about a hearty meal that brings the family closer together and I’m so here for it.
I’m so thankful to Butcher Box for good meat and all the other good stuff that comes along with it!