Wednesday, March 7, 2012

my approach to meal planning

Since Riggs was born, planning has become much more important.  I'm a planner by nature, I love to make plans.  I tend to think most people probably love to make plans.  However, I think it's pretty widely known that it's actually following through with plans that is the hard part.  I'm excited to announce that I have been getting better and better at making plans I can actually follow through with...yay me!

One thing I've been trying to incorporate into our lives is rhythm.  I've been learning so much about how important it is to us all, and especially to children.  Following Riggs' lead, I've been trying to carve out a rhythm that works best for us, a structure for him to build his life around, a structure for me to use to make sure things get done around here in a timely manner and with little-to-no stress.

On her blog, Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, Lisa describes the concept very well:  "Focus on a simple, natural, slower paced, soulful life with children by implementing daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms through the year full of nurturing, artistic, domestic and social activities that deeply nourish family life for children and adults alike.  Protect the wonder of childhood and revisit your own sense of awe.  Bring gratitude and reverence into daily life in an authentic manner." A more in depth description is available here.

I've been working on planning the best ways to implement this in our lives, and one of these plans I've begun to implement is using Mondays to purge the house of unneeded things (carefully combing through each room for things we don't use or need, cleaning out the refrigerator, etc.), finalize a meal plan for the week, and go shopping for any extra ingredients we might need.

Monday's work best for this because it is trash day on Tuesdays.  So anythings that needs to go from the fridge and all the horrible packaging that you get when buying things in bulk at Costco can go out right away rather than piling up around the house.  Also, beginning the week so organized helps me keep a positive outlook each day.

We are really trying to save every penny possible right now to buy a house later this year, so my goal right now is to use up what I have in my pantry and only buy fresh things each week for about a month.  Ideally, I see myself doing one Costco trip a month to stock up on what we will need for that month, and then doing weekly trips to the local market in winter and farmers market in summer for fruits, veggies, milk and eggs.  That is what I'm working up to.

I've only recently started meal planning (it's been a life-saver since having Riggs as it takes the guess work out of what to make Steve for dinner day after day), and so we have a lot of random foods left over from before that need to be used up prior to buying any other ingredients (other than fresh items, as I mentioned before).  Monday and this morning I worked on coming up with a few weekly meal plans based on what we already have, and feel pretty good about what I've come up with.

My daily rhythm in regards to meals is working out pretty well.  I usually start getting in the dinner mindset around 1 or 2, as Steve is home and hungry by 5pm.  If I wake up feeling especially tired, or know I have a lot to do that day, I get together a crockpot meal in the morning when I have the most energy (afternoons can be a hard time, as it's when I begin to feel pretty tired and lazy).  Also, Riggs cluster feeds from about 4:30 or 5 until his bedtime around 8, so I need to work around that as well.  Sometimes he goes in the wrap and can eat "on-the-go" but sometimes that doesn't work out.

Have you been doing any meal planning lately and if so, how has it been going?  Any good recipes to share?  I will be sharing what I made for dinner tonight later today when I get some final pictures, so maybe check back in for that if Mex Mac & Cheese sounds good to you...


  1. I love making our meal plan for the week, and I love love love being in the kitchen surrounded by my little helpers standing on their step stools!

    We have a predictable pattern each week (more or less, though I do sometimes go off-plan!) - risotto on Mondays, soup on Tuesday with barley bread, pasta on Wednesday, stew on Thursday, something baked on Friday, meat and veg on Saturday, and Sunday could be *anything*!

    PS - hello! Nice to meet you!

  2. I love reading about your plans :).