7 February, 2012  |   2 Comments

Meal planning, the details

Meal Plan

I pick up groceries, I bring them home, I put them away.
You know how it is.

Shopping only once a week makes the unloadening quite a trial.
(Though it always takes less time than I think it will.)

Scribble pageI still have my list, you know. It’s the ugliest piece of paper you ever did see. By this time in the meal planning process it’s a mess for sure – crunched, scratched off and pocketed.

It’s not until the very end of my weekly meal planning project that I make the meal plan look nice. Copying it onto the piece of paper I post for the week, I tape it up on our calendar.

(We used to put it on the fridge, but now our fridge takes no magnets.)

Sometimes it takes me more than one try to make my meal plan look the way I want. This used to cause lots of internal friction. (“I’m being a perfectionist! I should just be happy with it the way I want!”)

But then I made peace with my process. Heck, it’s public in our home and I look at it several times a week (day!). If I want to avoid that familiar pang of disappointment, I’ll take the time to make it look the way I want it.

(Pssst. Are you feeling a pang of disappointment about a trivial, visual something? Do something about it! Today! I promise it’ll take less effort than you think and the payoff will be big.)

Ferry late? Celebrate!If it’s Sunday, I get to cooking and preparing.

On the evening before I go to the city, I set up the coffee, make the lunches, know what the girls will be eating for breakfast, usually have my lunch ready and dinner for that night is either made or very close to made.

I know, I know, it seems like a lot.
But it’s setting us up to make fewer choices when our brains are tired and overloaded.
It’s setting us up to make healthier choices at those tricky times.
And best yet, it’s setting us up to save a little money.

Now if only lunch were so easy — by the way, what are you eating for lunch these days? How do you feel about it?

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2 thoughts on “Meal planning, the details

  1. 1
    Anne says:

    My lunches are one of several things:

    Whatever greens I have all tossed together with whatever protein is available – hard boiled egg, can of tuna, carnitas (if I am lucky!) … I keep salad dressing fixings at the office;
    Something that I intentionally made a lot of so that it could be taken for lunch; or, if I am down to no choices
    A box of soup that can be used for a couple of days worth of lunch with a small supplement of nuts and/or peanut butter and crackers.
    I have been considering going back to bringing a sandwich, but think maybe it’s more likely that I will just add it to the rotation.

  2. 2

    Great post! This is so wise–> . . “setting us up to make fewer choices when our brains are tired and overloaded.” This is why meal planning (well, lots of kinds of planning, right?) really does make a difference. I hate meal planning but always feel better when I do it. Like you, I try to plan out the whole week ahead, but especially like to have my Monday dinner figured out or made very easy. I also like to do at least one crockpot meal each week, because it feels like a “night off” because of less prep. I also make the kids’ lunches the night before, this has vastly improved my weekday mornings.

    As for lunch, I work from home, so I have a little more flexibility. Lately I have been liking soups (made a good one from a leftover chicken the other day–broth, noodles, kale, chicken, chopped carrot and onion) and salads (I chop up a lot of cabbage, which keeps better than lettuce, ahead of time and top it with tuna, chopped deli turkey, sunflower seeds, chopped bell pepper and sometimes a little feta cheese.

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