Need a boost to get into the swing of meal planning? I just spotted this nifty notepad created by the blogger at Heart of Light (ah, don’t you love that name?)
A classy way to plan your meals - found at etsy.com
I like this idea … much classier than my scribbles on repurposed notecards attached to the refrigerator.
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They say it takes three weeks of concerted effort to cultivate a new habit. Yesterday marked the end of three weeks of meal planning, or a valiant effort to stick to one. It was a bumpy road, no doubt, but worth the effort.
Fewer headaches worrying about “what’s for dinner.” We didn’t stick to the plan every night – life just isn’t that predictable – but it was great to have some ideas ready to go if I needed them. Meals were more balanced. If veggies or fruits are missing from the plan, the gaps are apparent. It’s also possible we shaved a few dollars off the grocery bill. Fewer impulsive purchases during multiple trips to the store to pick up missing ingredients for ad hoc meals. My husband can just look at the plan tacked to the fridge if he’s curious what’s for dinner. And believe me, he always wants to know.
This week marked the first time I’ve done a complete meal plan in a long time. We’re nearly through the week and it has gone fairly well. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – right on schedule and delish. Last night I burned out. Opted for frozen pizza and was so scattered I left the cardboard on it while baking. It was still edible. And the caesar salad was a nice distraction.
Before I forget, the plan came through:
Tuesday: Sauteed chicken with spinach and mushrooms; polenta with goat cheese and rosemary. (The polenta was a challenge to meet the 30-min prep test. Thankfully the M-man pitched in to chop the mushrooms and stir the polenta while I threw everything else together. Fresh spinach is wonderful but always a pain.)
Tonight (Thursday): Italian Sausage casserole with White Beans and Chard; applesauce. Simple and tasty.
At this point I’m not sure we’ll stick to the plan. I’m usually looking for an excuse to avoid the kitchen on Friday nights.
Many years ago when I was in grad school, and my husband was in grad school, and we both were working full time in big offices at opposite ends of Chicago, we realized that our interest in eating well was being compromised. For obvious reasons.
This was BK – before kids (actually, my first son was born into this craziness four months before I graduated) but we had all the same challenges that working families face in eating well, together, on a regular basis. I remember hearing one of classmates admit that she and her husband often ate cereal for dinner. I still today hope that my face did not reflect my horror. She was a nice woman. Fortunately, my husband and I loved food too much. Special K would not do.
I did meal plans. Every weekend I’d sit with the grocery ads and cookbooks and our calendar. If we had evening activities, dinner would be frozen pizza or leftovers. But for all those other evenings I planned menus. Assembled the grocery list. Planned my shopping trip based on best deals for staples and the best shops for produce and seafood or meat. In Chicago in the mid-90s that meant a trip to Cub Foods, a big box for boxed and canned goods. Then stops at Fresh Fields and Whole Foods for the fresh stuff. Occasional side trips to the Lincoln meat market or to Joe’s sausage shop in my neighborhood (Joe was Hungarian, but every Saturday a German friend played ompah music on an accordian all afternoon).
It was a weekly adventure. Sure, it was time-consuming but it saved headaches (and time) during the week. No questions about “what’s for dinner.” And we ate well. Happy people.