My Troubles with Meal Planning

Meal Planning. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I know it is one of the best methods to not only keep your food budget under control, but also helps you eat healthier food and live a healthier life. But for some reason I have not been able to successfully conquer this skill. I must not be alone in this!

Here is my recent tweet, voicing my frustrations:   

 

 

 

 

 Here are some of my problems:

  1. I am a Pinterest addict. I know that this is a common downfall to many a stay-at-home mom. Most of my pins tend to be amazingly delicious and borderline sinful recipes… with a sprinkling of healthy recipes here and there. It is not that I don’t have access to enough great recipes, but that I am exposed to way too many. It is so hard to choose!
  2. I really enjoy cooking. This may not sound like a problem at first glance. The prospect of learning and tackling these advanced gourmet recipes sounds like a blast to me. But, here is a typical scenario… I start an advanced recipe with new techniques I have never tried before and end up greatly underestimating how long it will actually take me – not accounting for the learning curve. Or I am super ambitious and have too many dishes going at once and end up burning one of them. I guess I feel like I have to have a great main dish, with a couple sides, and a dessert for it to count. Crazy!
  3. I’m not sure if I would truly categorize this one as a problem, but it is certainly a challenge. I am a mom to an emotional toddler and wife to a husband that is gone 14-hours a day for his job making it difficult to pull of a lot of the dishes I would normal gravitate to. I get going into the thick of it and my toddler start pulling on me, “up-up” or the dog decides to throw up on the carpet, or my toddler is trying to get a toy open but it is stuck and she starts screaming like a mad woman. I tend to alternate between responding quickly or waiting and giving her a chance to figure it out on here own, but there comes a point when a mama just has to jump in. 
  4. I am really bad at coordinating recipes so that they share some of the major common ingredients. So what ends up happening is I try to plan 5 or so recipes in a week and have leftovers of some of the meat or produce that I don’t have anything to use it for and then it goes to waste. I hate that! I just have this bad habit of impulsively choosing any recipes that look good to me without doing any ingredient coordinating.

So as you can see, I can make quite the mess out of this whole meal planning thing. But I really want to get better! Why? Because I want to be able to be more in control of our food budget. I want to be able to buy quality and healthy foods and raise my family enjoying and benefiting from healthy and delicious, nutrient-dense foods.

I recently had a great conversation with Stephanie, blogger over at Keeper of the Home, and she had a ton of great tips. Here are a few…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie has a great e-book resource out called Plan It, Don’t Panic, and its available for a pretty reasonable price of $4.99. She includes tons of tips to actually make meal planning work for me (or you), as well as printable planning pages and “4 weeks of real, whole food meal plans, complete with breakfast/lunch/dinner and recipe links.” That last part got me excited. I bought her e-book months ago before we every connected on twitter, but totally forgot about it until our conversation. I think I have a pretty decent game plan now with all of her tools. I recommend checking her page out at http://www.keeperofthehome.org

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So I’ve decided to give this whole meal planning thing another go. I feel like I have a better idea of what I was doing wrong, and hopefully is will go more smoothly for me now.

Do you have frustrations with Meal Planning, like me? Would you share any?

Or do you have other advice on what works for you and your family? I love to hear different ideas. 

Happy Meal-Planning!FITL signature handwritingMealPlanningPin

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