Thinking ahead to save time during the month.
Taking care of the needs of my family.
Looking out for my family’s health.
Providing balanced nutrition.
Modeling responsibility and the benefits of planning ahead.
Sparing myself the stress of feeling unprepared during the week.
Saving money by cutting down on last minute trips to the store.
Delighting my family with variety.
Avoiding chaos by having a plan.
Greeting my husband with dinner ready after work.
Demonstrating that I treasure my family and value them as gifts.
For me, meal planning used to be a never-ending task that often felt more like a chore than an act of love. In the grand scheme of things, it appeared to be insignificant. That is, until it wasn’t done; then I was left with chaos. I remember going through my day from one emergency to the other and not thinking about dinnertime until it was time to sit down and eat. Unfortunately, meat doesn’t thaw out and get cooked in 5 minutes; neither do side dishes. I was constantly feeling like a failure because I loved my family and wanted to provide nice meals, but I couldn’t find a system that worked for me. So, I created one!
Meal planning in my home is simple. I have a list with all of my family’s favorite dishes, categorized by cuisine, and since it’s 2015, I also have a Pinterest board with the matching recipes, of course. We choose a cuisine for each week: Mexican, Italian, Latin, American, Chinese, etc. Then, I go to my list and choose meals from that cuisine that fit into our weekly schedule.
You don’t have to do it my way. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of systems with free printable tools on Pinterest. Explore and experiment until you find one that works for you.
If you look at the list above under “AMAZING,” you’ll read the things that matter to me: my family’s well-being, my time, our health, my sanity, and honoring my husband. Those are just some of the benefits I reap from this seemingly insignificant task. When my mind is set on the tedious burden of the chore and how it’s one more thing on the to-do list, my attitude suffers. When I fix my eyes on the benefits, my passion shows.
Whatever your values, remember that planning meals is not simply another average chore you have to do, it’s a task you are able to do because you are caring, wise, and AMAZING!
Meal Planning Tips
- Plan before the month begins.
- Buy your meats in bulk and freeze them after seasoning.
- Involve your spouse and children in the planning process.
- Use your plan as a guide; allow yourself room for spontaneity.
- Take a picture of your calendar with your phone, so you always have it with you.
- Search Pinterest for recipes and planning tools.
- Talk to your friends to find new recipes and planning ideas.