Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Meal Planning System

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that I used to plan meals for every week night, and I posted the plan on my blog. And for a while, planning meals for every week night really made life a lot easier. Dinner time went from being stressful to being enjoyable.

However, planning meals for each night wasn’t without problems. For one, people (hubby and the teenager, who lived at home at the time) came to expect a certain meal on a certain night. And sometimes I just didn’t feel like cooking what was “on the plan.” Imagine the disappointment when they walked in the door and said, “I’m really looking forward to the hamburgers tonight,” and I said, “Oh. I changed it to veggie stir fry with tofu.” And even when they didn’t care, I felt like I “should” make the meal that was on the plan for that night. Also, writing the meal plan, making a grocery list, and then going shopping turned into quite the chore, and I felt like I had lost some spontaneity in picking up what I felt like.

So I changed my system. Now, I write down meals on a white board, and I make them when I feel like it (keeping veggies that are getting old in mind of course). This new system has been working great. It works great to incorporate our CSA veggies and the produce we pick up from the Farmers’ Market into our meals. It’s a nice balance between structure (because I have a plan) and flexibility (in being able to choose what I feel like on any given night).

Here is what the whiteboard looks like (yes, my handwriting is extremely messy. But, hey, this is real life…):

Last night, we had ramen with a ton of spinach and cilantro from the CSA. I ate almost all the kimchi by myself… I think hubby (who usually eats a lot less kimchi than I do) would have liked some more... Oops...

Finally, do you remember the watermelon the toddler bought at the Farmers’ Market? Well, it turned out it was yellow. He loved it and ate about 95% of it all by himself… Smile

Questions: Do you plan meals? If so, what’s your system? Are you flexible when it comes to your planned meals? Do you ever get tired of planning meals? If you don’t plan meals, how do you decide what to eat? 

Be well,