Meal planning. Such a mundane thing, right? Not to this girl! It’s a way I live inspired, so make sure to read until the end of this to discover how.
Meal planning is something I never thought I would do. Did I mention I am seriously surprised at how organized I am getting as a married woman out on my own? Before you go thinking I have always been some perfect Martha Stewart who does everything just so, let me tell you that I have pretty much always been very messy and disorganized. But that is a story for a different day. HA! (I’m thinking about starting a series on true confessions. Where I confess the stuff I used to always be embarrassed about. We shall see!)
How I Meal Plan:
It’s become a Sunday night ritual as I prepare for the week ahead. What I love about it is that a ritual that only takes me about 15-20 minutes, takes the guesswork out of the rest of the week! I can still be spontaneous for breakfast and lunch, as I am on my own while Matt works and only have to take care of myself for those meals. Dinner is the meal of the day that we both look forward to and share together. This is the meal I usually cook from scratch.
I take a quick look around my kitchen to see what ingredients I have left in the house. I always start with the things that need to be used up first, so that we don’t waste food or money, and then start planning my meals around that. For instance, I had a clove of garlic and some onion that was going to go bad soon if I didn’t use it, so tonight’s meal was my CrockPot Chili. I write down whatever meals sound good or whatever our favorites are, that contain the ingredients we have on hand. On occasion I have scoured Pinterest or Googled recipes made with ingredients I need to use up.
Any new ingredients we need go on a list that I text to Matt that week, so he can swing by the store on the way home from work. Once a month I stock up on our food staples online with Amazon Prime Pantry (you get 2 day shipping and they have a LOT of stuff to choose from. Amazon is my BFF!). Sometimes we order stuff from Schwan’s too, a frozen food delivery service that has local delivery drivers.
Next I text Matt the meal plan for the week, Monday-Sunday. I text him the weekly meal plan for two reasons:
- It keeps me organized. I can get busy working from home and being a housewife both, and I can just look at that text message anytime I need to know what to cook.
- It is a loving gesture I do for my husband so that he has something to look forward to each day. He doesn’t like his job and works long hours in a factory all day. Since he loves my cooking, having a menu to know what yummy food awaits him that evening makes him happy.
Here is an example of those meal plan texts I’m talking about (this week’s didn’t start on Monday as usual, but you get the idea):
I should mention that I always start the week out with meals made with the ingredients that are expiring soon. I also want to mention that I don’t always stick to the plan. There are usually a combination of easy to cook meals and more time consuming meals. If I am having one of my tired or busier days, I will swap out a quick and easy meal for that day. Even if I swap days around, the point is that I don’t have to wonder what to make each week or if we have ingredients on hand. It makes my days much more intentional and calming instead of chaotic.
Benefits of Meal Planning:
- Time Management-Cooking from scratch takes time and Matt goes to bed super early, so we cannot eat late (we also eat on a schedule for blood sugar reasons). Prior to planning, some days I didn’t allow enough time for cooking meals that take longer, so would have to fix convenience foods. Now I don’t get stressed out scrambling around last minute wondering what on earth to make.
- This also means we eat healthier. Before I meal planned sometimes I would be so hungry I would just eat any junk on hand. Or, we would order pizza more often than we should. When I take time to meal plan I can be intentional about what we are eating and choose meals that fit with our dietary needs.
- No Guess. No Stress. My life goes much more smoothly and I enjoy cooking more when I know ahead of time what to make. I also love not having to guess if we have ingredients on hand, since I planned accordingly.
- It’s fun! At least for me it is. Deciding on recipes and dreaming up what yummy things I will cook makes it more fun.
- Nicely planned meals = quality time spent together. Dinnertime is pretty much the only time of the day that I get quality time with my husband. Creating yummy menus makes it feel more like fine dining at home. An experience we both really enjoy. Because the recipes are preplanned, we never have a “bad” meal. Unless I try some wacky new recipe or burn something
To me dinner is an occasion and a great way to incorporate inspired living into your daily life! Do you have a dinner ritual?
I think meal planning and having a dinner ritual can apply to anyone. It’s great for busy moms or wives, or for people wanting to be more intentional about their diet and WHAT they are eating. Even if you eat alone, why not have a dinner ritual that makes you feel pampered every now and then? Even when I eat alone, I still make a meal I look forward to and eat with my favorite dishes and flatware.
You can make meal time special in so many ways, and planning meals for sure helps. Maybe you want to have a theme night each week, like we do. We have taco night and Sunday’s are always pancake breakfasts. Maybe you want to have a night where you get in your pjs, watch cartoons or shows you love and eat breakfast for dinner. Sometimes we eat at the table with special china and candles. Sometimes we eat in front of the tv with the current show we are watching on Netflix. Be creative
I’ll close by saying I have really gotten into intentional living as a way to live inspired. It’s part of creating the lives we want to live. Living in ways that bring us joy. Making everyday moments special, or as I like to say here,
“Making the Mundane Marvelous!”
So here’s to not living in a beige, blase world. I know at first glance, meal planning can sound beige and structured, but creating meals and meal experiences we enjoy can actually be quite inspiring. It’s better than just rushing around eating whatever , whether we like it or not. Every day can be delicious. Literally.
Keep discovering ways of being that bring you joy,
Until next time,