It is time to lighten things up on the blog a bit. One of the amazing things for me, about staying home, is having the time to cook healthy meals from scratch for my family. I LOVE to cook and working full time didn't always allow me the time for to be fully creative in the kitchen. Then add kids on top of that and cooking dinner become a chore. I know there are lots of you who can relate. Moving down to Colorado gave me the opportunity to start fresh with our routines and cooking more often from scratch using whole foods was on the top of the list. I also wanted to decrease the amount of food waste we had...kids are the worst with food waste! So began the meal planning process.
Starting on Sunday nights I fill out my handy whiteboard on the fridge with our weekly meals. I got the small whiteboard from the dollar store, but you could use a scrap piece of paper. the point is about planning, not what you write on. I have a few rules I try to follow every week:
1. Two nights a week dinner is vegetarian
2. All dinners (except for Saturday) must have leftovers for Tim's lunch
3. Three nights a week dinner is a meal all 4 of us can eat (The Kid's palette is still developing)
4. At least one part of the meal can be prepared in the afternoon during nap time
Here is an example of this week's meal planning. Thursday night Ben has skating so the slow cooker means no prep when we get home.
Once the meal plan is set then it is time for writing the grocery list...this not only makes sure that I get all the necessary food but also keeps me from straying away from our budget. I love to wonder in the grocery store and pick up new or interesting items...not always good for the budget :) I also try to go to the grocery store without the kids...this is not always possible so the list helps to keep us focused and get through the store fast so we can avoid any meltdowns!
Now Ang, you say, I am a full time working parent who doesn't have time in the afternoon to prepare dinner...I say, even more reason to plan your meals out. It is great each day not to have to look in the fridge and try to come up with a dinner on the spot...who wants to play that game every night?!? Not to mention who doesn't love leftovers for lunch!
The food section of the blog has some great Instant Pot recipes on it but I will also be adding some of my easy go-to meals for during the week. This process has given me control over our dinner time and we are able to spend more time together eating as a family.
I challenge you to try meal planning for a week...You will never want to go back!