So, meal planning can be stressful/annoying/time-consuming. BUT, it can also be the best thing you do each week or month! After having friends and family over this past weekend for pumpkin carving (and then unexpectedly overnight!), I was glad I took the time to plan out meals last week.
1.) It can make dinner with unplanned guests so much easier! My brother and his wife, as well as our youth pastor and his wife were here for pumpkin carving. Sure, we could have spent $10 each to order some pizzas and get some pop, BUT we made sloppy joes and budgeted pop into our groceries that week, so no one paid anything out-of-pocket and still had a filling meal! Then, after we all got together again the next day for lunch, leftovers were there and I was able to pull out burritos I had made and frozen during the week. Another meal for 6 adults and 4 kids (a neighbor girl came over to eat also) was fast and inexpensive!
2.) No last-minute trips to the store for an ingredient forgotten. If you plan ahead of time with the sales at your stores, you will be sure to have everything you need for your upcoming meals. This means fewer unplanned trips out to pick up one or two things (which, for me, tends to turn into 10 things I happen to see on sale and then overspend buying!). With four kids, there is no quick trip out to the store for one item. It’s a 20 minute process to get out the door – potty, coats, shoes, load into car…you get the idea. If I’ve planned out my meals, I know ahead of time what I’m making, how much time I’ll need and that I already have everything. 🙂
3.) Surprise events aren’t a hassle. This is probably my favorite. With several kids and activities each week, something is bound to pop up that needs more attention than I usually have time to give. BUT, I won’t have to worry about needing time to plan out dinner (or make that extra trip to the store) because I know what I’m making and have all the ingredients. So, when I get a phone call from my sister that quickly goes from a quick call to an hour-long chat (love you, Mindy!), it’s no problem. Or, when one of the kids has a potty accident or the baby poops through his whole outfit and I’m suddenly scrubbing poo out, I can spend time on it without trying to think of what to make for dinner too.
When my husband were first married, I wouldn’t have considered any of this. I made dinner whenever and with whatever because it was just the two of us and I didn’t have to work around any other schedules. Now that we have kids, are getting more involved at church, and home schooling….there are A LOT of schedules! Planning ahead takes a little of the stress off of mealtime. And any stress reduced is wonderful! 🙂