How do you spend your Saturday afternoon? Reading a book? Catching up on housework? Hanging out with your family?
For me, all of those are a possibility, but the one thing I never skip? Meal planning.
It’s not the most exciting way to spend my day, and there are plenty of other things that I find more fun. But I know that the time I spend planning our food is worth it.
I want to feed my family mostly homemade, mostly unprocessed food. And it has to taste good, or they won’t eat it. If I don’t have a plan, we either scrounge for whatever’s in the pantry or go out to eat. The pantry plan might work for a few days, but eventually the family is going to want something besides chicken, beans, and rice. And while pizza and a movie night are fun occasionally, that’s not something we can do all the time, for the sake of our waistlines and our budget.
I want to stick to my grocery budget. Speaking of budgets, we have a fairly small one for our family of six-going-on-seven. Which means that without some careful planning, I can run out of money before the end of the month. In order to stay on track, I have to plan.
This means things like:
- having a general idea of how much things cost
- shopping from what I have in the freezer and pantry first
- using things up before they go bad
None of that is going to happen without a plan.
I don’t want to spend all of my time in the kitchen. Sure, I can always find something to eat in our house, but it may involve some extra steps or time I don’t have, depending on the meal. If I plan ahead, I can make extras of repeated ingredients, make use of appliances that do the work for me like the crockpot and instant pot, and just generally use my time better.
And I can make sure I don’t have three complicated meals on a super busy day. Because who wants to wake up on an already full day to realize you’re supposed to bake muffins for breakfast, roast veggies for lunch, and cook a complicated chicken dish with a few sides for dinner? Not me.
Meal planning helps keep me on track. And that’s worth the time to me.
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