Are you looking to find a solution to why you’re struggling with meal planning for your family? You need to read this post!
I get it: You want your family to eat healthy. It’s your dream to gather them around an easy home cooked dinner every night.
But somehow the tips and ideas you find about meal planning are just not for beginners. Or maybe you’re just not made to meal plan?
Your tried weekly and monthly. You tried templates, free plans and paid menus. And now you’re just tired of it all.
Or might this simple reason just be your key to a new kind of family dinner organization?
Let me guess: You don’t enjoy meal planning. But you figured you have to do it when you noticed how messed up things get when you don’t.
You probably tried so many different methods to make it happen. And not a single one managed to stick.
It took way too much time.
Looking for things to cook made you cry.
Yes, I said it out loud. Searching for 3 meals a day plus snacks, seven days a week, that’s something to bring anyone to tears.
You got cheated on by so many online recipes. 10 minute prep time and having to chop seven cups of vegetables? That’s maybe 10 minutes for a master chef.
And in the end, your hangry family dug around in their healthy vegan quinoa 30-minute-but-more-like-30-hours casserole without much enthusiasm.
Hey, you drove to three supermarkets to find that dang vegan cheese.
Sound familiar? Let me tell you something: It doesn’t have to be this way!
I’m guessing a lot of moms struggle with meal planning, especially when it’s your first time having to feed a kid regularly.
This parenting thing, it’s hard. I mean, they want to eat how many times per day?
And if you have no meal routine, you can basically forget having a routine altogether.
Good meal planning habits can absolutely make things easier on you.
But what are good meal planning habits, and more importantly: What are bad meal planning habits?
Meal planning myths
„You mustn’t shop more than once a week if you’re on a tight budget!”
You might go through a lot of produce if you’re cooking from scratch for a large family. And if you can’t store it properly it will go bad before you get to meal #5.
Or you might have a very small family and you will end up wasting more food (and money!) if you only shop once a week.
If economically it works out better for you to shop more often, then shop more often, no matter what anyone tells you.
One caveat: You have to really plan your trips. No “oh, I forgot the milk!” grocery runs, where you come back with a bag full of stuff you don’t need.
Write down your grocery list for trip one and your list for trip two. And then stick to it.
OK, I won’t tell anyone about the chocolate bar.
„You have to know exactly what you’re making every meal of the day for the entire next month!”
I would go CRAZY if I had to do this.
But if you live in a rural area and only get to do a major grocery trip once a month? Yeah, you should probably roughly know what you’re going to cook the next four weeks or so.
It still doesn’t mean you have to map out every. single. breakfast if that’s taking you too much time.
Or even just if it gives you a slight headache.
Because that will build up to one major headache over time, trust me.
It’s enough if you know how many bags of oats and toast you need.
And maybe a few eggs.
„Meal prepping once a month is the ONLY way to go as a busy mom!”
I like having chopped vegetables in the fridge or freezer, I really do.
But I’m a creature of habit. If I don’t do my hour in the kitchen every night, I start slacking.
And in comes the frozen pizza, because I didn’t realize it’s almost 5.30pm already.
Also, I lack the time and patience for an entire weekend of cooking.
And the freezer space.
Seriously though. Isn’t planning, prepping, cooking and freezing an entire 30 days worth of food a little intimidating?
Don’t get me wrong here, meal prep is important. Without at least a little prep, dinner time will get seriously stressful if you want to cook from scratch.
Slow cooker meal packets for the freezer are amazing. And so are pancakes and waffles.
And cookie dough, obviously.
But if you lack the patience for that much pre-cooking and pre-planning, I promise you still won’t sink your kitchen ship.
I’ve been there
I believed in every single meal planning wisdom out there at some point. And meal planning became my biggest nightmare.
It usually started with two hours of scrambling around for recipes and ended in tears of despair.
I wish I was joking earlier in this post, but meal planning did actually make me cry.
One of the main problems contributing to why you’re struggling with meal planning for your family? What all three points I discussed above have in common?
They’re skills. Seriously. Real, actual skills.
And are we able to excel at a skill from day one? No. We learn, and we strive towards improving those skills, until they are second nature to us.
And not every personality is suited to match up with every skill, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t along the way.
Especially if you’re just starting out, making meal planning an overwhelming task will set you up for failure instantly.
So instead of never even starting with getting your family dinners organized because all the information seems unmanageable, do this:
Start out small. Don’t overplan. And do what you can right now.
If you keep doing it, if you keep learning, it will get easier, until you’ll eventually forget you ever had troubles with cooking dinner.