I have been meaning to make — and follow — a meal plan for, oh, about four years. The idea of knowing in the morning what I’ll be making for dinner that night brings a sense of calm to what can, for me, be incredibly anxiety provoking.
Well, last week I did it. And it was hugely successful.
Not only did I map out dinners; I used this initial plan to provide an overarching theme for the types of meals I will make on a weekly basis, until the end of time. Or at least until the kids move out. You may think I am kidding, but I assure you I am not.
Tuesday’s dinner of fish tacos provided the framework for Mexican night; my decision to schedule lasagna last Wednesday means it will forever be pasta night. Chicken soup the following day cemented Thursday as soup night.
I even went so far as to pre-determine our morning meals: Monday is oats, Tuesday is millet, Wednesday is cold cereal, Thursday is dad’s day for omelettes, and Friday offers toast and fresh fruit. The weekend brings gluten-free pancakes, waffles, crêpes and other special things that take more time to prepare.
You might wonder if your kids or spouse will bore of this; maybe you’re afraid you will too! But I think the key to it all is flexibility. On Day 3 I had planned to make lasagna, but when I went to the grocery store I noticed that sockeye salmon was on sale for a great price — so I bought it and that’s what we had. I was OK with straying from my plan, and dinner was ready to eat on time — or close to it — pretty much every night.
The meal plan also helped me know what I needed for groceries and kept me from buying things that would end up in the fridge and never get used. I just went by what I liked and knew my kids would eat, but I also know some families who make their meal plan based on what is in the flyers that week.
For the 15 minutes that it took me to sit down and decide on everything that night, I can easily see myself saving hours and hours of indecision and, more importantly, frustration.
Normally when I get up in the morning I will spend a couple of minutes checking out what’s in the fridge and staring at the cupboard with its doors flung open wide. Even when I see oatmeal staring me in the face I find myself vacillating. Over what exactly I am not certain, but the fact that OATS is written in ink under “Monday” and stuck to the fridge makes me rest easy in my choice — or lack thereof.
For a full rundown of my weekly meal plan visit my website. You can augment any and all of the meals to suit your liking but it will give the gist to how to make one for your house and comes with some suggested themes or meal ideas.
Kirsten Andrews offers Simplicity Parenting courses and workshops in the Sea to Sky Corridor. For more information visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or like Sea to Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook.