How to start meal planning
Meal planning changed my life. Just like my pharmacology professor taught me in NP school, I started “slow and low.” By that I mean that I planned a few days at a time. My boys were probably 1, 3, and 11 when I quickly realized everyone wanted to eat every night and I had 2 of the 3 eating regular food. I was commuting 2 hours a day, managing a full panel of family practice patients, and trying to navigate diapers, bottles, potty-training, and 5th grade all at the same time. I was crying frequently and having palpitations on my drive home trying to figure out what was for dinner. I’m not exaggerating, I was a mess and wondered how every other mom could get it all done. Every other mom was smiling on social media and making brownies and family dinners and had clean houses and perfect marriages. I felt like a giant failure. I knew there had to be a better way.
Now that my kids are 9, 11, and 19 I know that all those social media posts I was consuming were (dare I say) a big fat lie. No one has it all or does it all. It is simply not possible. Motherhood, marriage, and career are all extremely demanding and HARD. They each require huge amounts of effort and compromise. Time management and planning can certainly help but managing (and FEEDING) a family in today’s world is tough. Over the years, I’ve gone from planning a few days of suppers to one week at a time to now an entire month at a time. Yes, ONE MONTH at a time. I have been doing it for 8 years, so my monthly meal planning sessions usually take me about an hour. That one hour per month saves me so many panic attacks and profanities. The boys know that meals are posted on the fridge door and they never really complain about what’s for dinner because they know it’s non-negotiable. I will make a separate blog post about the money I have saved by meal planning, but I simply wanted to introduce the concept and the real reasons WHY I started doing it. I didn’t start meal planning because I was an overachiever or planner-extraordinaire. I was a crying, overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, new mom (I inherited my oldest just a year before my first was born) who was desperate for help. Meal planning may not be for you, but if it is- I am here to help.
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