It’s so funny how perspective changes over time. Years and years ago (back in the dark ages when I was a newlywed), I just loved to be spontaneous and fun about dinner. “Let’s go out”, I’d announce knowing it really wasn’t in the budget. Or the conversation would go something like this, “What do you want for dinner?” The retort would invariably be, “I don’t care. What do YOU want?” You can see where that’s all going, right?
Now I look back and think that what I once thought was “spontaneous and fun” was actually stressful and difficult. We ate late too often, ate out too much and even if we did eat at home, the meal was scavenged out of an inadequately stocked pantry and fridge.
Naturally that all changed when children came along, but still the planning part of getting meals together took me some time to get. My mom did it effortlessly week after week working full-time outside the home. I was home for heaven’s sake. I used to own a catering business, cooked professionally and was a nutritionist. What’s MY excuse?
And then it hit me. The reason mealtimes were less than stellar events in my home was because I didn’t spend the time to make them so. To make them that way, there was a requirement of time and energy. Energy to plan, plus time. Once I got that part down, things went smoothly. Mealtimes were on time, meals were healthy and balanced and all was well in my little kingdom.
Meal planning has parts and components to it just like a car has parts and pieces. Different parts make it go; different components make it stop. To get your meal planning into “drive” you need to have a plan. To make it stop, well?haven’t you been there before? All you need to do is do nothing or keep doing the same thing that hasn’t worked yet. Which will it be?
To plan successfully, you need well-balanced meals that are healthy, tasty and fast and easy to fix. You cook once for the whole family at dinner time; you don’t make different meals for every family member unless you wear a name badge and ask, “Do you want fries with that?” We’ll talk about that later?that’s important too (training kids out of picky).
So get your paper and pencil out and start writing. Don’t be a perfectionist; just get something together. If you need help, I’ve got a free menu waiting for you on my site; I’m happy to help.
Menu planning isn’t brain surgery or quantum physics. It’s feeding your family and loving them with a good meal and your delightful countenance at the dinner table. So get busy girlfriends! There’s work to do. 🙂
Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva
Saving Your Dinner since 2001