These days, it seems all of us run on a tight schedule. There is always something to do and somewhere to go. In the midst of raising a family, and being an entrepreneur, you know how easy it is to forget about the essentials. I'm talking about "What's for Dinner, Mom?". Those are the dreaded words no mom wants to hear when she's had a busy day and is exhausted and quite frankly forgot about dinner.
Today I'm going to share with you how I learned to simplify meal times by planning ahead.
Step 1: Gather info from the peeps. Driving home from school is a great time to gather information from your children. I provided a piece of paper and pen for a child who is able to record our conversation. Each child shared one thing they enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. After speaking with 5 children I now had 15 meals for the week and 5 snacks. This way ensures the people you are serving will eat what you took time to make. It's a win-win all around!
Step 2: Use what you have. I recommend using a crockpot, stockpot, and/or rice cooker for the majority of weekly meals. "They cook all day while the cook is away!" Add in one day a week that is take out and you're golden! Some of my favorite crockpot meals include chili, whole chicken and veggies, and beef stew. Pinterest is a great way to gather ideas for one pot wonders. Also, ask yourself, "What are my go-to meals", because let's be honest, it's easy to fall off the meal planning train, but just as easy to reset and climb back aboard. I keep frozen pizzas and nuggets in the deep freezer for emergency use along with bags of steamable veggies. Not 100% healthy I know, but it is food nonetheless.
Step 3: Pick one day a week to plan. I find that when I commit to one hour on a Sunday afternoon I rock my meal plan for the week and then shop the very next day. Planning and shopping the same day can be overwhelming. No need to stress. Do what's best for you.
Step 4: Stick to the plan. Take note what everyone actually ate and what you could do without next week. Plan out your favorite places for take out and what you will order. Do this for 4 restaurants and you'll be prepared for an entire month!
Step 5: Celebrate your progress. Perfection has no place for mothers and children. it's all about progress! What will you do to celebrate your success in the meal planning department? Maybe a family movie, a trip to the ice-cream shop, or indulge in your favorite book for an afternoon. This is the most important step, as to avoid meal planning burn out.
Step 6: Look over your week. What worked? What didn't? What do you want to try different this week? It could be more or less take out, batch cooking, freezer meals? Whatever works for you!
Now you know how to cut the chaos when meal planning. Knowing what everyone is eating for the week clears the mental chaos of not knowing and becoming overwhelmed. Don't stress about creating the perfect meals as next week you get the oopportunity to plan 21 more! After you've cleared this chaos it leaves room for more creativity which every entrepreneur loves. Comment below if you've found this post to be helpful.