It was a little over 8 years ago that I realized I needed to figure out a “new plan” or else we may never eat healthy. My son was just a baby and I’d get home from work, pick him up from daycare, want to play with him after not seeing him all day – and before I knew it it was 5pm and I had NO idea what we were going to eat for dinner. If we were in the mood for something, likely I didn’t have the ingredients for it, there was not time to thaw meats or sauces so we’d order out, eat junk or not eat much at all – along with that it would STRESS ME OUT!!
I consider myself a pretty organized person but had never needed to be organized around food so here is what I did:
I put a dry/erase board on the fridge with the days of the week and a spot for “Needed Groceries”. On Saturdays I would look through recipes and write our meals for each day on the board (I should note here I never plan more than 3-4 meals/week. I have left overs on the board at least once a week and paninis or sandwiches one day – that has made it feel way more attainable). That’s it – that was my big “OMG” moment/action.
Here is all the little bonuses I’ve found:
- Having the menu on the fridge for all to see was a BIG bonus. If I was going to be late my husband could look at the board and start dinner.
- We don’t end up with a lot of “munchie/junky” food in the house because I only shop and buy ingredients I need for the recipes on my weekly menu.
- Cooking became FUN. I’ve enjoyed creating boards on Pinterest for “Dinner”, “Salads”, “Soup”, and of course “Dessert”! I often use Sundays to prep and cook whatever I can to make the week easier (especially now that our son is almost 9 and plays sports so our nights can be hectic…but that’s another blog 🙂 )
- Less Stress
- Left Overs are always a good option to bring to work for lunch to help save money and make healthy choices at lunch.
So that was my “Ah-Ha” moment years ago. I’ve stayed faithful to that system since then (although the whiteboard is no longer on the fridge) and am so thankful for that simple change all those years ago. I’d love to hear your meal planning stories, techniques and/or ideas – (there is probably something I can steal from you 🙂 )!