This is the start of a little series on topics related to homemaking and taking care of a family. I love DIYs and sharing recipes but most of my time is spent keeping our home running smoothly. Every so often I will post on a homemaking related topic and I would love to hear your opinion so please share! Here we go!
Unintentionally, we conducted an experiment this past month. After traveling a few weekends and not planning our meals for the week ahead, we gave in to our tiredness and desire to not go to the grocery store. Instead, we chose to ‘wing it’ food-wise.
Winging it doesn’t work in our house.
This was doubly confirmed after the second week.
I like plans. I like being prepared. Each day of those two weeks, my mind was completely blank on what exactly we were going to eat. And anyone with children knows that the subject of food and eating is mentioned in just about every other sentence during their waking hours. After our experiment, I have renewed vigor for meal planning.
But I still struggle with it, even after eight plus years. I struggle with deciding what to have. It seems so silly. I love food, I love to cook and bake and I have books and binders full of recipes to choose from but it is so hard for me to decide! I don’t know if it a problem of too many options or just a mental block on nailing down what to have for the week. I am one of those people who could eat the same meal over and over again because I like it that much. I like to try new things but I like eating the favorite often too.
So I force myself to do the planning because I know at some point I’ll get better and it won’t be such a challenge. Either that or I will catch myself one of those kitchen fairies and have her take over the planning. :)
How do I plan for our meals? Just like my mom did when we were little.
I take a blank calendar and fill it in. I choose a variety of main courses/dishes (beef, chicken, beans, soup, egg, all vegetable) plus sides and extras and write those in. It’s not a set-in-stone schedule, more of a visual aid. We choose what we want to eat the day of (or night before) depending on our mood, our level of exhaustion and our schedule. This method of planning helps us fill out our grocery list too. I’m working on a three-month schedule so I don’t have to revisit the planning stage every weekend.
At this point, I am most comfortable with having four to five meals plus three lunches per week. We might not make all of them but we have options. Meals that we don’t make are bumped to the next week. Also, we are a family who eats leftovers. I know not everyone does that but it works for us and it gives me some reprieve in food prep.
So tell me, how you meet this challenge each week? Are you a planner or a wing-it-er?
If you’re a planner, what are your secrets for choosing your meals? Do you have a pattern or rotate a set of meals? Or are you adventurous and fill your schedule with lots of new things?
If you are a wing-it-er, how do you do it? Do you go to the grocery store a lot or do you have lots of ingredients on hand so you still have options?
Tell me, I’m so interested!