If you’re like most of the Moms and Dads whom I’ve worked with over the years, then you find the dinner-bath-bedtime routine of weekday evenings to be a stressful, rushed time. One way to make these evenings easier is to plan your meals. When I suggest creating a meal plan, often people respond something like:
“I’m already crazy-busy. How am I supposed to add one more thing to my life?!”
I agree that at first it seems like making a meal plan is adding more to your already overly full schedule.
But, in reality it actually saves time and stress.
I grew up watching ‘80s cartoons. One show had a saying that they’d repeat:
“Knowing is half the battle”
This phrase is true when it comes to meal planning.
Long gone are the days before you had kids when you could leisurely stop in to the market to wander the aisles and decide what you feel like eating tonight. Then taking your time cooking dinner. Or, perhaps you were more likely to eat out most nights – catching up with your partner and/or friends over an hour-long (or longer) meal.
A good portion of the stress of making dinner each night is figuring out what the heck you’ll make. Many parents admit that this thought (and it’s stress/ worry/ fear) starts creeping into their minds at about 4pm.
Not having a plan leaves you multi-tasking to come up with some idea while you’re finishing up your work day, rushing to pick the kids up from daycare, and fighting the traffic to get home and/or to extra-curricular activities.
Not having a plan likely means creating an extra task of running in to the grocery store, with kids in tow, when the store is at it’s busiest. Not fun.
While it does take time to sit down and create a meal plan, doing so will save you hours of stress each week.
It’ll also save you time and money. Imagine no more:
- Last-minute trips to the grocery store.
- Staring blankly into your fridge.
- Garbage bins full of veggies, bought with the best of intentions, but now gone bad.
Does the structure of a meal plan make you feel constrained? Remember that it’s your plan – change it whenever you want! Did you plan to make a complicated, new recipe tonight but you had an awful day and all you want to do is order pizza? Order the pizza! And revise your plan so that the ingredients that you bought for that new dish are used up before they go bad.
Not convinced? Give it a try, just for this month. It’s only 4 weeks. December is an extra busy month, if meal planning can save you time, this is the perfect month to try it!
I’d love to hear how meal planning is going for you – the good and the bad! Share your experience in the Comments section below…