Monday, April 30, 2012

meal planning monday

I have a love/hate relationship with meal planning.

I love love love that it makes my week run smoothly. It cuts out the 4 o'clock "what on earth will i cook for dinner??" pickle. It steam-lines my grocery shopping and has definitely cut down on the amount of food that sits in the fridge, bidding it's time until it is chucked out (cut it down to pretty much nothing - truly). But the bit that I L.O.V.E. the most is that is has almost completely eradicated the dinner-whinge from the kids.

If they ask "Whats for dinner?" I just point at the fridge. If they say "but I don't like that!" (usually this will be son #2), I can direct his gaze to another night during the week, where there is usually something that he does like. So he knows that is OK, he can cope with a mushroom or two in the pasta sauce tonight, because tomorrow there will be more than enough nachos. Likewise with breakfast - they check it out when they get up and can often the ball rolling themselves (son #1 makes killer scrambled eggs, they rock!).

What I don't like about it is the bit of sitting down and coming up with the plan. Having to come up with a weeks worth of breakfast, after-school snacks and dinner in one hit can be tricky and it is a juggle having to take into account after-school activities, work and all the rest of it and how all that impacts on the available time to make any given meal, buuuuuut, that is the key - putting the thought in ahead of time definitely pays off when the week "stays-on-the rails" and means that when you walk in the door at 6:30 on a cold, dark Thursday night, trailing three kids, having spent the last 2 & a half hours driving around to back-to-back soccer training sessions, dinner is in the oven and will be on the table within 10 minutes.

So, this week we have:

Monday: Pumpkin Soup with Avo & Tom Toasties
Tuesday: Chicken Satay's with noodle salad
Wednesday: Gnocchi with Bacon & Mushroom sauce
Thursday: Thai Curry with rice
Friday: Shredded Beef Nachos

Happy Monday!

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