Help I am Menu Challenged

Dear FlyLady,

First thank you so much for all your advice – I find it a huge help.

My biggest problem, where I get totally overwhelmed and after 5 years of FLYING am still crashing is menu planning. I just can’t seem to be able to do it. I find it overwhelming and spend hours on it each week – just today I’ve spent about 3 hours trying to menu plan for the week and got more and more depressed and ended up with only the beginnings of a plan.

My family doesn’t like a lot of the food, so I find I spend hours trying to substitute and it adds to my stress. I would love for you to be able to break down menu planning in the same way you break down cleaning – into managable bits, starting with babysteps. I just look at the whole week and my recipe books and my food cupboards and freeze – literally I just sit there for hours and end up with half a list and feeling terrible.

Thank you,

Dear Menu-Challenged,

As I see it you are making it too hard on yourself. You are looking for inspiration in the wrong place. Don’t look at your recipe books! They don’t know your family like you do. I want you to keep it simple.

  1. Keep a diary of what your family eats each night.
  2. Plan your meals around what your family will eat.
  3. Be kind to yourself
  4. Get the family involved
  5. Even get them to help cook.
  6. Don’t introduce new things but once a month

Have a family meeting. Give everyone a stack of 14 note cards and have each person write their name at the top. Put on some fun music or set the timer. See who can write the most items on the cards. Then play go fish. Go around the table and hold up a card and ask; Does anyone have spaghetti for example? Make a pile for each meal. See how many piles your family can make. The winner gets to decide what day you are fixing the meal.

There you have it! The meals your family will eat. For the one that only you like or your husband; save those for Date Night. This can be fun. If you need help more help with the full menu; ask the family to write down their favorite sides by color. I like the make a meal with lots of color. Play the go fish game again.

Take one of the cards and write down the ingredients for the meal on the card. Add the sides you want to fix with the entree. Then start your grocery list for this week. If they have come up with more than seven menus then you might have two weeks planned.

Doesn’t the idea of playing a game with your family seem much more fun than sitting for 3 hours ¬†beating yourself up!


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