Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meal Planning

Last week was a really rough week for the Cotner-Bradford family in the kitchen. Basically, we never went grocery shopping (although Matt did pick up a few items at one point), so we ate out every night. Since I've been thinking that I need to eat more moderately, my overwhelming impulse was to eat junk food all week, before I officially started eating healthy food (terrible personal philosophy, I know!). We literally had veggie burgers, french fries, and milkshakes more than once. Since Henry has been eating everything we eat (from about eight-months on), I feel twice as bad about eating unhealthy foods because now I'm not only corrupting my body, I'm corrupting his, too.


But there's no need to dwell in self-flagellation. It's time to make some action steps!

I need to get back to using Meals for a Year to do my weekly meal planning. I strayed from using it because it was difficult to look at the shopping list on my iPhone, and plus some of the meals didn't sound super-appealing. Both of those things are such easy fixes. I hate when a problem could be easily solved with five minutes of work but I put it off and put it off for days, weeks, or even months.

My easy solutions:
  1. Print the list each week. I should do this when I'm sitting down to make my Weekly Action Plan. I can shrink two pages to fit on one sheet.
  2. If there's a meal that doesn't sound appealing, I can simply choose one of our easy, go-to meals to replace it.

What I love about Meals for a Year is that it exposes me to all sorts of new recipes, and it takes the work out of meal planning every single week. My intention is to use it all year long and keep track of our favorite recipes. At the end of the year, I can sit down and compile all of our favorites into four seasonal meal plans. I would create a meal plan for an entire month, and we would rotate through it three times before switching to the next season's meal plan.

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Jannell said...

I have been meal planning each week (although if I really get on a roll, I will plan a couple of weeks out), and it has seriously impacted the stress and time it takes to prepare dinners. I also think it has helped me make more nutritious meals, because I am looking at a whole week's worth of food at one time.

I use the mealsforayear for inspiration, and have discovered some really wonderful recipes through it, but I construct my own plans.

The success with evening meals makes me want to slowly add in lunch and breakfast foods to the plan, too.

A few weeks ago, everyone in my family was sick, and the plan totally derailed. Maybe I should keep soup in the freezer for such occasions.

Good luck to you as you figure out your own situation!

Julie M said...

We've been falling prey to eating out to much recently as well- sounds like you may have discovered P Terrys, always one of my downfalls.......Good luck getting back on track!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Yes, Julie! We have very near to our house. Ugh...

Brenna said...

I highly recommend the spring panzanella recipe from the first week of April on Meals for a Year. We had it last night and it was quick and delicious. I usually am not drawn to panzanellas, but I'm glad I tried it.

We have freezer meals that I made when I was pregnant. Now that we're getting into a normal routine, I feel so happy when I can pull one out and just heat it. I think I'll try to keep a list of 4-8 easy freezer meals that I can just double when I cook so that we have some on hand.

By the way, since we now have a newborn, I wanted to let you know that I've been rereading some of your posts from when Henry was a newborn. Thanks for sharing your honest perspective.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Brenna! I have no idea what a panzanella is, but I bought all the ingredients and we're cooking it this week. Congrats on the new baby!

Mismikado said...

Right there with you, Sara! We found a few of the meals were too vegetarian for us since we aren't actually but are cool with cutting down on our meat ingestion.

Have to start getting back into using it though because I need to start eating healthier... seriously! O_O

Emmalinda said...

I've started meal planning a month at a time. I thought it would be hard to plan that far ahead, but I LOVE it. It takes me an hour or so on one Saturday/month. Then, each weekend I just consult the meal plan and make the grocery list. I think I save more time than when I planned for a week at a time.

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