5 year old daughter, “Wouldn’t it be nice to know every day what we were having for dinner? Like how we have pizza every Friday?” Me, “Yes sweetie. That’s called meal planning.” LOL. Like it’s this magical, unattainable thing. Do I like cooking? No, not really. Do I like thinking about cooking? Definitely not. Then why did I avoid meal planning for so long?
It sounds like this big, scary undertaking. I have to plan a meal for more than one day?? I hear people talk about it and how they prepare all of the food for the week on the weekends. Not gonna happen in this house. We need weekends for resting. And I can’t stand or sit long enough to make one meal, let alone prepare for several!
But a few weeks ago, I sat at my desk and made a list of everything I know how to make. I was surprised at how many meals were on the list. 33. I know how to make 33 different meals. So why are we having cereal or spaghetti every night?? Because when you wait until 5:15pm to make the decision, everything takes too long, or you don’t have the ingredients, or mostly, your kids have sucked away your brain cells, and you are physically unable to make a decision about food. So Cheerios it is!
After I made my list, I started adding each meal to my Google Calendar. Click, type type type, click, DONE! Next! In under 15 minutes, I knew what I was having for dinner for the next 6 weeks! It wasn’t stressful. It wasn’t overwhelming. In fact, it was the opposite. This wave of relief washed over me when I realized I didn’t have to think about dinner for weeks! And we’re actually having different meals every day. Meals we haven’t eaten in years. Because I forgot they existed. But now here they are in their yellow highlighted glory all over my calendar, saying “It’s okay Natalie, we’ve got this.”
My daughter seems to think the next step is to memorize the entire month. First thing in the morning, “Did you meal plan? What’s for dinner today? What’s for dinner tomorrow? What about the day after tomorrow? What do you call the day after that??” You call it, leave me along and go play. That’s what you call it.