Baby Steps toward good Meal Planning

When DH and I were first married he was in grad school and often had dinner ready when I got home. It was usually a casserole - he picked a meat, a starch, a cream of 'something' soup, and topped it with cracker crumbs or cheese. Occasionally there was a mystery spice involved, too. I couldn't complain too much because I didn't have to do the planning.

For many years it was just the two of us and with hectic schedules we'd just catch a quick dinner when we got home or we'd go out if we couldn't come up with a better plan. This was not a good habit to establish and one day I had to stop and remind myself that we really didn't have the money to do this.

So, I pulled out all of my cookbooks and made a list of the things we liked to eat. Well, the things I like to eat. That's a shorter list and it's not very broad. We eat a lot of chicken - when we eat meat at all. Or we eat 'go to' meals that my mom made when I was growing up.

Now that our lives have shifted again and Comfort and Joy have joined our family I have an even greater need to make a meal plan. Last year was a learning experience even in the failure to achieve what I wanted to do. I learned that planning a month at a time wasn't going to work for me. At least not right away.

Why? Because I need Baby Steps to get used to this meal planning thing. Yes, I'm glad that I'm not starring in to the fridge at 4 o'clock trying to figure out what we're going to eat and nuking hot dogs for the girls every night but I also need to allow for some flexiblity for us.

Right now I'm planning 3-4 days ahead. This gets me from grocery trip to Costco run and back each week. I'm also not doing this just in my head. I'm keeping track on our family calendar. I thought about using another page - maybe on my computer - but by using the family calendar it gives DH a vote in the meal idea, too.

There you are. My first Baby Steps toward my New Years resolution to create a sustainabl meal plan for our family. Next week I'll continue to write about how I'm bulking up the pantry. Sucess or failure - meal planning is definitely a Cool Idea!


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