To some, meal planning comes easily. You would think I would have no problem sitting down and prepping a weekly meal plan for my family of seven. But it’s a bit rough, let me tell you. Some are quite the picky eaters, and it’s a tad frustrating….
Okay, okay…it’s a lot frustrating. My meals consist of foods that I know my family will eat. There’s not much room for “going outside the box”. My options are limited. This past week, I tried to go simple with our menu. It consisted of macaroni and cheese, barbecue chicken, toast, and Chex mix to snack on. Doesn’t seem like much when you look at it, but it was a good start for me.
Before all of this, my dinner plans were always scattered, like my brain. It became rather difficult, and overwhelming for me to figure out what I was going to feed my family that night. And honestly, it shouldn’t have. As a stay at home mom, I should easily have control over the consistency of meals. And heck, I have a husband who is often willing to make the meals if I request it!
I’ve relied on help from my best friend to give me ideas on what to cook, and her biggest advice to me was to take an inventory of what all I had in my cupboards, and work my meals around that.
…. that meant we were going to have a lot of pasta dishes…you know, because we had a lot of noodles! So that’s what we had! Our meals included macaroni and cheese, homemade hamburger helper, and chicken alfredo.
Do you know what? All of my home cooked meals were openly welcomed! My kids, as well as my husband finished each of their plates….no leftovers! This is saying a lot for my family. So now that I have a plan that seems to be working in my favor, my goal is to at least make 4 home-cooked dinners a week.
I also have three kids who are in school that depend on bringing in a home lunch. Their lunch box consist of a sandwich, chips, a juice pouch, a granola bar, and fruit snacks. At school, lunch costs about $2.30. After breaking down how much I spend on each of the kids’ lunch, it seems that I can get the price down to less than $1.30. $1.00 savings may not sound like much, but if you span it over an entire school year, you’ll see it start growing!
So while it may be a struggle for me to work on meal planning, I, as well as my husband, have noticed my stress and anxiety level has exponentially lowered. If I know what I am cooking that day, and I know I have the ingredients necessary, I can worry less and focus on the task at hand. No more telling the kids to fend for themselves because this mama has a plan!
Update: I also wanted to add this today: Forget the juice pouches, which only come in 10 packs…there are 12 packs of little water bottles at Walmart for the same price ($1.88), and it’s healthier! Waaabam!!