Meal Planning: Method or Madness?
31st of January 2017
As a busy mom, meal planning is a task that is never complete. Some days it doesn’t feel like I can even get the kitchen cleaned before a tiny human is telling me they are STARVING (picture them laying on the floor clutching my ankle). We also have a running joke in the house that there’s no dinner on Sundays. During the week we usually stick to quick prep breakfasts; oatmeal, fried eggs, or make-ahead-breakfast-muffins warmed up. Sundays are lazy days. Big breakfasts are finished around noon, and then I’ll cook a big meal that falls somewhere between normal lunch and dinner times. If you get hungry again later then you are on your own to forage for snacks and leftovers.
I would like to imagine that one day I am going to get the hang of having my pretty meal plan chalkboard all filled out for the week, with all of the necessary ingredients picked up in one shopping trip, but as of right now, I am planning one meal at a time. Part of my reluctance to sit down and plan is I depend a lot on what I am craving that day. In the past attempts to plan, shop and cook are thwarted by a long day at work where I don’t feel like cooking at all when I get home, or beef stroganoff not sounding as good as pan-seared scallops. It winds up being a waste of money when produce I meant to use goes bad. Here’s what works for me:
SHOP YOUR LOCAL STORE ADS
My store has a new ad every Wednesday. I loosely plan a few dinners once I’ve checked through the sheet for sales. The cool thing about the store I shop at is that Wednesday is double ad day; everything from the previous week is still on sale along with all the new sales. I believe in variety for nutrition’s sake, but if ground beef is 60% off, I know I will be getting creative with the beef recipes for that week. We can mix up the veggies and snacks to round out our nutrients.
STICK TO THE BASICS
As I mentioned before, weekday breakfasts are routine around here. So are week-night dinners. For my stepsons’ benefit their weekly dinner at our house is always Taco Tuesday. The rest of the week follows a general guideline of meat+veggie2. When I’m especially brilliant all of it gets baked on a jumbo sheet pan in the oven for an easy cleanup.
PUT YOUR APP INTO IT
I have 2 apps I use on the regular. The Real Plans app is a great tool for meal ideas, and a very easy planner if you are good at that. I will plan my week on Wednesdays based on my grocery deals, but if I skip a meal I can easily flick it to another day on the planner. It also has plugins from some of the tastiest cookbooks around: PaleOMG, NomNomPaleo, Well-Fed, and The Paleo Mom to name a few. This a subscription service, but they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if it’s not for you.
The other app I swear by is the ShopShop app. This one is a free grocery list keeper. It comes in handy every day when I am out and think of something I need for dinner. I have multiple lists set up based on the store I like to use for each item. It’s also really nice to share if my husband is going to the store for me.
FARM IT OUT
If Amazon were a person I would vote it to be President. I have a steady stream of Prime deliveries to my house ranging from diapers, to groceries, to books, to goofy gag gifts. Now that Amazon Fresh is available in my area the bright green totes are also making an appearance. For hard-to-find items, or for weeks when I am swamped with other tasks this is one less trip to the grocery store with a crabby toddler that demands to eat the blueberries straight out of the carton before we get to the register.
There are also a ton of meal prep delivery boxes now as well. Our favorite is Sunbasket because they have family friendly options, simple ingredients and they are super easy to make. The ingredients are all sourced here in California, and the farmers are organic and sustainable, which makes my little heart beat a happy tune.
USE THE POWER OF THE FORCE… OF PINTEREST
I know, I know. Pinterest is a black hole, you jump on to find an idea for dinner and pretty soon you’re planning an add-on to your dream house/farm with the designer chicken coup in the backyard. This can be a great tool to save those ideas you come across or freshen up your meal calendar. If you need a place to start for ideas for what to feed your family and kids here’s a board I keep the fun food on: Snacks & Meals For Littles.
Unfortunately for me, there is more madness than method to the way we plan. I could blame the four kids and two business we run, but in the spirit of the New Year, it’s really just my personality. I love food, and never want to force myself to eat something I would prefer to make another day.
Note: The information found in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. The opinions of Brynn D’Avello/Thyme to Turnip do not necessarily reflect the views of Trinity Youth Services. This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness, nor act as a substitute for medical treatment or advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before implementing any dietary and/or lifestyle modifications.
Bynn D’Avello, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Brynn is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and owns Thyme To Turnip Nutrition in Claremont, CA. Brynn’s passion is working with families to build healthy foundations. She helps couples prepare their bodies for conception, works with parents to support healthy pregnancies, and nourishing their babies and children. Brynn & her husband Mike have a blended family they commonly describe as “Yours, Mine and Ours,” with 3 boys between them when they married; they had a baby girl together 2 years ago. Their nutrition journey with one son’s placement on the Autism spectrum in 2011, and they have learned how important food is to maintaining optimal health not just for their son with Autism, but also for the entire family. Brynn understands how daunting it can seem to switch to a nutrient-dense diet in today’s busy world of the working family.
Tel: (909) 747-7769 | Email: Brynn@thyme2turnip.com | Website: www.thymetoturnip.com