Life is busy, and chaotic. Time and resources are limited. But I found a free tool that helps me tame the chaos monster of the ever pending question: “what’s for dinner?”
My organization goes in waves, I don’t have it all together by any means. There will be weeks and months where I have a plan in place for meals and grocery shopping. But then there will be weeks, where I throw a big temper tantrum and refuse to go to the store for anything substantial or for any length of time. Our budget and my waist line always suffer when this happens. So I’m trying to get back into the habit of planning. Plus…that saves me so much stress during the day.
DON’T EAT CRAP
Last year, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I tried a new way of eating. And it has changed so much in our lives! We feel so much better, we have much more energy, and we have both lost a lot of weight. It’s simply eating whole, non-processed foods: meats, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. (find out more at www.whole30.com) The idea is you do it for just 30 days, and note the differences you feel and see. Then you can go back (if you want) to some of the old crap you were eating before, but why would you?
I’ll admit we do not eat that way all the time. But it has definitely changed our eating habits. I would like to eat even more whole foods, and that requires planning. And that is where this fabulous tool comes in! The same friend also introduced me to www.pepperplate.com, and I am hooked. (I use it on my computer, iPad, and smart phone – and they all sync.)
LET TECHNOLOGY WORK FOR YOU
1. I add in my recipes…either manually, or through their cute little bookmarklet that makes it easy to snag recipes right off the web.
2. Add the recipe I want to make to my grocery list! It syncs with our mobile devices. Bonus: I’ve downloaded the app on my hubby’s phone and signed in with my account, so the grocery lists update on both phones! So I’ll never be missing that one item off of a recipe again – huge pet peeve!
3. This app would be pretty amazing if that was all it did, but it gets better: I am also able to plan days, weeks, or months worth of meals on a calendar in the app. So now it’s easier for me to plan healthy, whole meals and make a grocery list quickly.
4. PLUS, there is one more tool, called MENUS that I’m working on really thinking through and organizing to help me be even more efficient. It’ll take some time now, but this is where I’m really hoping it’ll save me a lot of time in the future. I’m creating, one week at a time worth of meals to one menu. I hope to get about six weeks of menus in place to rotate through. Then, when it’s time to make my list, I just go to that week’s menu, add those recipes to my grocery list and head out the door.
PLANNING FOR LIFE
I’ve found that I cannot schedule specific meals for specific days very well; they always end up changing. So, my goal is to create a list of about four dinners and one Saturday morning breakfast per week “menu”. So for week one, these are the recipes I have:
Dinner #1: Tomato Basil Beef Soup (whole30) plus some bread we have in the freezer we’ll eat with it (not whole30).
Dinner #2: Taco Salad (whole30)
Dinner #3: Corinne’s Chicken Salad (whole30 if I make my homemade mayo)
Dinner #4: Chef Salad (need use up a bunch of lettuce before it goes bad)
Saturday Morning: Italian Sausage Frittata
I only plan out four dinners because there are nights where life happens and plans change, and nights where we’re not able to eat together and I just make a sandwich. For breakfasts during the week we usually have scrambles eggs, so I always have those on hand. And for lunches we usually eat leftovers or a sandwich. So I just add those miscellaneous items to my list as needed. Super simple.
How do you organize recipes and plan your meals?