Meal planning drop-out

I did so well for so long. While I was pregnant and for months after Quinten was born. We knew what we were eating every day. We didn’t spend unnecessary money on fast food because we had plans. Grocery shopping was a breeze because there was a plan and a list. Summer hit and our lives got busier. I got lazier. Instead of planning on Sunday morning, we did other things. Grocery store runs were out of necessity and didn’t yield much for meals. We grilled a lot. We ate sandwiches a lot. We got fast food more than either of us would have liked (while trying to stick with our budget).

This weekend I finally made a change. I sat down with my whiteboard and I made a meal plan for the week. No more getting home from work with no idea what is for supper while Quinten cries because he wants to eat, NOW. I knew I had to be realistic. I knew I couldn’t shoot for the stars, I just needed to find a way to ease back into it. I planned our meals around what Quinten could eat. When it wasn’t something he could eat, I wrote down “baby food.” I had a plan for everyone. We went to the store and we only wrote down the things that we needed for meals. Everything else was already part of the grocery store routine. We even went to the store after work one night and came home to make supper. That never happens! But, I made a simple plan for the week. I took into consideration what our daily activities were and I made something that was feasible.

I started with the basics: a fruit, a vegetable, and a main course. It’s not extravagant or top notch, but it’s a plan and it’s doable. Our nights feel more secure again. We both know what we’re doing and neither of us feels responsible for determining what’s for supper.

I’m stretching my wings again and getting back into the groove. It was nice to be carefree over the summer, but being a meal planning drop-out isn’t one of the responsibilities that my family can afford to lose. We’ll get back there. I may not have time for big meals, but I do have time to plan ahead and ensure that my family gets the proper nutrients. What kind of meals are you making?

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Meal planning

Meal planning has come and gone in our house. No excuses why I haven’t always done it. Life is much easier when I do, but I found myself dreading the task. I set us up for dinners with a newborn when we spent a Sunday making a lot of freezer meals. The food lasted us a month and made life so much easier, but I still had to plan meals and pull out the frozen food. Then again in January we made a bunch of crockpot freezer meals.

A few weeks ago, I sat down and planned meals for February and March. I included one frozen crockpot meal a week. I cut back from planning 5 or 6 meals and instead picked 3 or 4. I cut the number down because most meals leave us with a lot of leftovers. I eat mostly leftovers for lunch but Bryan and Maximus don’t always. We can also eat leftovers for dinners. When I meal plan, I never include breakfast or lunch. We’re pretty standard on those – cereal, pancakes, or waffles. Lunch is sandwiches, Mac and cheese, quesadillas, or leftovers.

Another change I made was to write the meals for the week instead of picking the days they will be made. That seems like a silly thing to change but it made all the difference. I still have to think ahead if we’re making a freezer meal, but that’s a lot easier than starting from scratch with ideas. We love the freedom of looking at the board and deciding what we want for the night based on our schedules and energy level. 🙂

I wasn’t sure about planning a month of meals because I thought I was setting myself up for failure. It has turned out to be a good way to minimize the stress in our nights. Either of us can make the meals, but I did the hard part and DECIDED what we were eating.