I sort of alluded to the fact that I’ve been starting to meal plan around here. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but just never got it together enough to make happen.
Alas, within the past month or so, life became so unwieldy that something had to be done.
I decided it was time to start meal planning for real for a few reasons:
- My eating had become sub-par because I found myself simply grabbing for whatever I could get my hands on between a chaotic life,
- When I looked in the fridge, I’d see a lot of stuff, but there was never anything to eat,
- When I went shopping I felt a bit purposeless, and
- We were wasting much more food than necessary because of all the random ingredients in my fridge.
[Baby boy helping Mama meal plan.]
I figured that meal planning and prepping food on the weekends would help to alleviate all of these issues because I’d focus on sticking to our family’s meal plan and only buying the necessary food, and then we’d actually have healthy meals in our fridge rather than just ingredients.
I know my meal plan looks a little complicated, but I just like to see everyone’s eating schedules laid out – mine, Ben’s and Isaac’s. That way I know just what I need to prepare for the week and I don’t have to do so much thinking during the week (weekday brain usage is limited ).
For simplicity’s sake, here are the steps I follow each week:
- Set up a template in Word with a few different sections: A table for meals [a quick glance at the week’s menu]; Recipes [a list of recipes I’ll be using this week]; Prep [a checklist of things I need to do during the weekend like hard-boiling eggs, grinding oats for baby cereal, etc.]; Shopping List. I set this up the first week and use the same template for each week.
- Throughout the week, I collect a few recipes I’m interested in trying [either from my own archives, fellow bloggers or Pinterest [best thing ever for meal planning!]). I aim for four meals to make for dinner [preferably crockpot!], knowing that I’ll have leftovers for lunches and possibly another dinner meal. Breakfasts are always the same for us – veggies with eggs + some salsa and/or avocado for me, and cereal for Ben.
- Friday night, I put together my meal plan for the coming week. I paste the recipes onto the document and make my shopping list based only on the week’s meals.
- The first shopping I do is on Saturday morning at the farmer’s market. I buy everything I possibly can from there and then make my way to Costco and/or the grocery store if I need additional stuff.
- I then prep everything I possibly can on the weekend, including crockpot meals [I cut everything up and put it into a big ziploc, then freeze]. This is my time to make protein balls for my snacks, batch-cook baby food for Isaac, and cook brown rice/quinoa to have on-hand for Ben (his diet requires more carbohydrates than mine, so I simply make sure he’s always got some carbs readily available to add on to the meals I make).
Although Isaac doesn’t always understand why Mama’s in the kitchen for a few hours on Sundays, he – as well as the rest of our family – has been reaping the benefits of having a stocked fridge and healthy food at every meal.
Ultimately, I’ve been really, really pleased with my novice adventures in meal planning. Now that I’m doing it every week, I can’t figure out why I was so intimidated by it. I really love – and miss – being in the kitchen, so I relish those few hours where I get to put my headphones in, listen to podcasts, and make healthy, homemade meals for my family.
I put in a few hours each week and am rewarded with healthy eats all week long! It is so worth it.
The best part?
I have totally alleviated all of the issues I was having. Win-win-win!
Do you meal plan? Care to share any awesome recipes?
Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts. Please stay connected with me on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribe to Simple Yet Significant to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!