In the long scheme of things, I have only been doing this meal planning thing for a little while. It has always been my heart to provide delicious food for my family, and in the 8 years that we have been married I have tried different things off and on. But, nothing really worked so well that it stuck. Finally, though, I have found what works for me. I don't know exactly how long I have been planning my meals in this way, but it has really blessed me, my kitchen, and my family. I did several posts a while back on why it is important to provide meals for your family in your home, what does NOT work for me in meal planning, the actual meal plan that I use, and what cookbooks I use. If you are interested in finding a way to plan out a menu and shopping list that works for you that is easy to follow, check out those posts to see if my plan would work for you as well.
This is what is on my mind this morning, so I thought I would share some of the ways that planning my meals and shopping list in this way have helped me.
* I have a very limited grocery budget. I have about $125 to spend on groceries for the 5 of us for a 15 day menu. It's tight, but since I am planning out all of our meals for those 15 days, and I know which of the two stores that I shop (Aldi and Kroger) sell what I need the cheapest, I can get what we need within that limit. We don't buy organic, because that would just take up too much of my chunk of money, but I feel that providing nourishing homemade meals and avoiding processed junk and fast food (when we can) makes up for it.
* The overall thought process in my home around meal time has changed from "Where are we going for dinner?" to "What are we having for dinner?" Also, that questions is easily and quickly answered by a glance at the menu hanging on the refrigerator. I read somewhere recently (can't at all remember where) that when you are consistently feeding your family home cooked meals, you are creating for your children and your family a sort of "home base". There is no uncertainty about dinner time.
* My children love helping me in the kitchen, Hudson especially. For Christmas he got his very own spatula. He was 3 at the time, and has loved using it to help me cook whenever he can. By helping me cook and, occasionally, bake, they are learning very valuable life skills. I am also learning and growing in patience :)
* My kitchen has become the place to be. I have Christian music playing in there from morning till night, and at any point throughout the day at least one person is in there. I take pleasure in preparing meals, and there is no 4:00 panic as I try to find something to make. It's all there ready for me.
If you have a desire to have more meals at home, or have been considering finding a system that works for you of consistently and efficiently planning regular menus, I would be happy to help. You could check out the links above, or contact me. My email address is listed at the top on the right under my picture.
Have a great Thursday, and happy cooking! This evening for us, it's chicken and broccoli casserole. Yummy!