In an effort to start the school year off strong (and maintain all year long) I've decided that meal planning might actually be a time saver! I've heard that it is, but in the past meal planning seemed like such a chore! A chore that I maybe stuck with a week (probably less) at most. Well, will a 3 month old and two first graders, my time at home while the older two are in school is no longer my own. I must be efficient while the baby is sleeping and I refuse to run around scrambling for something to prepare for dinner multiple times a week! Super stressful and it can make for a dull meal.
A couple of days ago, just before the new school year started, I told my husband that I think meal planning is the way to go (He never thought otherwise. In fact, he encouraged me to use a meal plan and has even helped me come up with some plans in the past). You know how sometimes good ideas aren't really the best ideas until you come to that conclusion on your own? Well, that's how I've been with meal planning! And you know what else?!? It doesn't have to be as painful as I was making it out to be. Shoot! We could have the exact same meal plan for an entire month!!! Mind you, I didn't say have the same MEAL everyday for a month! Ha! Just the same weekly plan. When I look at it this way it's so much simpler and a less daunting task.
I've done pretty well for the past several days and want to share one of the recipes I made last night with you. It was a hit!!! Three out of the 5 of us really enjoyed it and one of the other two doesn't have teeth yet ;-).
Oh, and the kids were able to help with the prep. They enjoyed popping the edamame out of their pods. We don't do much with soy in our household because of all of the plant estrogen it contains, but once in a while I'll buy tofu and once in a blue moon I pick up edamame. It has a great protein content though. 17 grams of protein per cup of cooked edamame. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Combine all ingredients and drizzle individual salads with Asian Vinaigrette (pg. 75 in the book). I actually used way more cabbage and avocado than suggested! But only because we all enjoy avocado and I wanted a fuller salad.
Another meal planning success was on the girls' first day of school. I whipped up a quick protein filled meal - usually I just give them oatmeal and a side of fruit or cereal and a side of fruit or eggs during the school week. This time I made egg muffins. After the girls went to school my husband, Vince, said Brynn said she didn't like the breakfast...she LOVED it!!!! Made my day!!! This meal planning thing is paying off!!
Oh, I can't forget, one of the ways I feel like we save money as a family is by investing in Blue Apron. Every week we receive two meals in the mail. They do take time to prep. But they're delicious AND they save me time and money because all of the ingredients are included and I'm not wasting produce. Try a free Blue Apron meal!
What's been your experience with meal planning? Success? A bust? What are some of your go to meals? What meals have you found are best in a crunch? What's your favorite no processed foods included meal to prepare? I'd love to hear from you!
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!