Meal Planning when Life is Chaos
Are you like many moms today, you feel like your life is a constant cycle of chaos? The day zips by and dinner hour rolls around and your heart sinks with panic. “What am I going to feed the kids for dinner?” Life has been so busy that you haven’t had time to meal plan.
If you are tired of the mom guilt of feeding your kids frozen pizzas or drive-thru every day, then allow me to share five steps to meal planning when life is complete chaos:
- Get a monthly calendar. The calendar doesn’t have to be expensive. Until earlier this year, I printed off a calendar for the month. But a friend suggested using a Dollar Tree monthly calendar. I love this idea because I can leave it in the kitchen for easy reference or I can toss it in my purse. The size of calendar is based on personal preference. I prefer a 7” x 9” monthly calendar/planner from the dollar store. But being able to see the month at a glance allows you to plan more effectively. You can easily see which days you and your family will be at home for dinner. Also, being able to refer back to previous weeks and month allows you to diversify the menu.
- Designate a meal planning day. Look over your schedule and see which day best works for you to carve out an hour to plan the week’s dinners. Sunday afternoons, while the baby naps and my other kids have quiet time, works best for me to take an hour and plan out my meals.
- Establish anchor days. Is there a meal your family loves and is always asking you to make? Then consider making that meal an anchor day meal. Some examples are: Hamburger Tuesday, Taco Wednesday, and Pizza or Fish Friday. These days will allow you to effortlessly prepare dinner those days. Once you’ve established those days, then go ahead and put them on your calendar for the month. You’ll notice that your calendar doesn’t feel so empty anymore.
- Use a family cookbook or binder for recipes. If you don’t have a family cookbook, it’s fairly easy to start one. Get a 1” or 2” binder and fill it with sheet protectors. As you discover dishes that you and your family enjoy place them into a sheet protector in the binder. Now is the time to utilize all those dinner pins on your Pinterest board. I have a stack of meals I want to make. Each week I try to pick out one or two of those to try. If the recipe is a hit, it gets added to the binder.
- Plan ahead for days when life happens. These meals can either be pre-made or store-bought. Freezing leftovers is a great way to plan ahead. Consider using a food saver to freeze leftovers to maintain freshness. I love to make extra taco meat and then freeze a few pounds to have on hand.
Meal planning is one area of life that you can take control of right now and break that constant cycle of chaos. When asked the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?”, you can effortlessly answer because you prepared beforehand!
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