Life with kids is busy, to say the least. What if there was one small change we could all make to simplify our lives?
I discovered (ok, committed to) meal planning only over the past few months. Before that I would see food bloggers speaking of the benefits over and over, but couldn’t see myself doing the same. I liked walking through the grocery store and buying what looked fresh and appealing. I didn’t want my creativity to be stifled by having to follow a meal plan each night. I made menus for yomim tovim and for Shabbos, but never for weekday meals.
This method of non-structured meal prep allowed me to make decisions on a whim, cooking whatever I was in the mood for each night based on staple ingredients I’d keep at home – or run out for shortly before – with my little guy in tow. I was wasting produce that I couldn’t use up during the week, always feeling bad for tossing them.
Recently I took the plunge and committed to meal planning. The end result?
Structure = Less Stress – My menu is stuck to the refrigerator at the beginning of each week, so I know exactly what’s going to be happening, and when. I can then go on autopilot without having to stress out each day at the 4:00 crunch thinking “what should I make today?”
Time Management – When planning my menu, I’m able to see what preparatory tasks can be taken care of the night before. If I know that one day is going to busier and I need a throw together meal, I can chop veggies the night before, or even just take out the dry ingredients and have them ready on the counter so that meal prep runs like clockwork.
Less Wasted Food and Money – Meal planning allows us to take stock of our ingredients before meal planning. Once we know what we have on hand, we know what we don’t need to buy, and can avoid doubling up on perishable ingredients. Structured planning also allows us to pointedly make use of ingredients that may be on their way out, by planning to toss them into a soup or stew where the difference goes unnoticed.
Quicker Shopping Trips – I do a big shop once a week. That’s it. So I know that I ave to have all necessary ingredients on hand in order to follow my plan. Once my meal plan is set for the week, I’m able to create accurate lists, with the number of each food item I’ll need to buy, because i know how many times I’ll cook with it throughout the week. I then divide these up appropriately into the few stores that I hit during my shopping trip.
Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail – I now know the difference meal planning has made in my life. I’m less stressed, more organized, and feel good about how much less I’m wasting on a weekly basis. I’m hoping to put up my weekly meal plans going forth, to share with you some Ideas that will inspire you to get on the bandwagon and come meal plan with me.
Dinner menu for this week:
Fri night – Soup, gefilte fish, beets, green beans, roasted potatoes, roasted mushrooms, fruit salad, healthy rice krispy treats
Seuda Shlishis – G-fish, green beans, roasted potatoes, roasted mushrooms, fruit salad
Sun – G-fish, beets, green beans, roasted potatoes and mushrooms from Shabbos
Mon – Tomato zucchini meatball soup, fruit salad
Tues – Chickpea feta salad with whole wheat biscuits, melon
Wed – Tomato zucchini meatball soup, melon
Thurs – pancakes, cottage cheese, fresh veggies, fruit