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Cranky Living: Meal Planning

Posted by: Maggie

Lifestyle tips from a moderately hip and stylish mom for families who want to live a healthful, organized, and joyful life.

We’ve been meal planning since Eleanor was about 6 months old I think. And I have no idea how we lived without it. I do know that we wasted a lot of food and money and time. We would buy things with the intention to eat them, but they would go bad and be thrown out before we did. There were a lot of nights that we didn’t have anything in the house to make a decent meal, so we would either order in, eat out, or have to make a last minute grocery store trip. It was wasteful and inefficient and once Eleanor arrived it did not fit in with our new routine and lifestyle.

So we started meal planning! We keep it simple we just plan what we will eat for the week on Saturday or Sunday morning and Josh does the shopping in the afternoon. I know that some families plan for the month ahead, but I am just not that intense! In general I’m not a big planner, I like to have the ability to be a bit flexible so planning for the week suits me perfectly.

We mostly just plan our dinners, but we always have an idea of what we’ll need for breakfasts and lunches. Although, those are basically the same most days with a little variation. I always ask Eleanor what she wants in her lunch before I pack it, and it’s usually the same 2 or 3 meals that she likes.

In general we eat the same meals for a few weeks until we get bored with them and then add in a few new recipes or old favorites. Right now, we’re transitioning from our Winter soups and curries to some Spring sandwiches and salads.

I’ll admit, there are the times when we just don’t feel like having what’s planned for that night! But that’s an easy fix. I often just switch around the days. I don’t feel like Minestrone Soup on Monday, but Thursday Tacos sound good, so we’ll just have soup on Thursday instead! And If I never feel like Soup or cooking at all and we end up eating out, well then I have the ingredients to have that soup for next Monday, and this week’s shopping trip will be lighter.

It’s pretty easy to stick to and makes my life a whole lot simpler come 5pm everyday!

What Meal Planning Can Do For You:

  • keep you from throwing food away, you don’t buy it unless you are going to eat it
  • you always have food on hand for dinner
  • you can ensure that you are getting a balance of nutritious meals throughout the week
  • your leftovers will always get eaten (either planned ahead for the following night or for someone’s lunch the next day)
  • you can cook seasonally, based on what you know will be at the the store
  • you won’t waste money shopping because you only buy what you need to make the meal you’ve planned on eating
  • you will never panic at 5pm trying to figure out what we’ll have for dinner
  • you only need to shop once a week, no more multiple trips to store to get recipe ingredients!

You can read more about Meal Planning over at one of my favorite sites Simple Mom.

Give it a try! I promise it will make your life easier!