How Do I Meal Plan and Why Do I Do It?
If I were to give you one thing that will make your week so much easier, what would that be? Well, I can’t give you a nanny or a cook or a cleaning lady, but I can give you back some time and precious head space.
I can also end the question of “What’s for dinner?” Because in my house, right up there with “Where are my shoes/homework/brush, etc.?” is “What are we going to eat”?
And, I get tired of telling them what we are having and hearing “Oh, yuck”. So, how do you get around that – Meal Planning!
How Meal Planning Helps You
If you are on the fence about whether putting in a little time up front is worth it in the end, here are some things that might help you make you your mind:
Rather than scrambling around inefficiently at dinner time trying to find something to feed your hungry horde, you can invest 30 minutes (maybe even less once you get the hang of it) per week mapping out all the meals for a week. Then, you post that information on a menu board and no more “What’s for dinner?” and no more arguing because it is written in “stone”.
Meal planning lets you retrieve your precious brain power that might be used on coming up with ideas. There are lot of different methods for doing it and you can do what works best for you. I’ve tried services like Emeals and I liked it.
For a small monthly fee ($5 or so), they send you an email with menus per week based on your wants and needs. It has the recipes and a shopping list at the end, which is VERY handy.
You can also DIY and spend a little time going through your favorite recipes, compare what you have on hand/need to buy at the store and then make your own shopping list for the week. Either way, you shop one time per week which saves you time and money. And, you have your go-to meals for the week figured out which is incredibly nice and freeing.
This also saves you from the “fatigue” at the end of the day that kicks in when you say “forget it, let’s eat out” because it just seems easier at the time. Until you get the bill which for our family of five is always a bit shocking!
Once you know where your next meal is coming from – your pantry! – and you only need to make it, you can then focus your time and attention on something else you enjoy instead! I would advise making it easy on yourself and save the elaborate meals for the weekend. And, in the making it super easy category, please let me sing the praises of the slow cooker!
There is nothing I like better than putting the ingredients for dinner in the slow cooker and then letting it do its thing while I do mine. My favorite slow cooker cookbook is “Fix it and Forget it – Feasting with your Slow Cooker” which has a wide variety of dishes – beef, chicken, pork, vegetarian, etc.
I hope you give meal planning a try if you haven’t consistently before. I think you’ll enjoy the results. Please let me know your experience – pro and con!
Sources for meal planning services:
Here are more articles on meals/meal planning and how it can work to make your life easier:
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