Meal Planning – Batch cooking & sales
Do you find yourself constantly dreading cooking for the family? Are you running out of ideas? Or, do you regularly find yourself making your go-to recipes over and over? Welcome to my world!! This is how I have been feeling for the past seven years. Every time 4 o’clock rolled around, I knew I had to start getting supper prepped and it didn’t bring me joy.
Now, I have flipped that mentality and look forward to mealtime. How have I done this? What was the magic pill that I swallowed? Have I gone nuts? Did I take cooking lessons? What the heck did I do to change this attitude????
If you have felt like me, welcome to my eBook. Before kids, I was content with eating breakfast for supper. I used to enjoy a bowl of cereal as a meal, but I knew that wasn’t acceptable anymore. I’ve never been one of those people that could just come home, open up the fridge and freezer and whip up a meal. I don’t carry that amazing talent that so many people do. My brain doesn’t work that way. I applaud all those that can, you guys rock!!!
I found myself cooking the same meals so often that I didn’t even enjoy eating them anymore. My go-to recipes were lasagna, chili, homemade hamburger helper, chicken casserole and pasta. I would look forward to bbq season to have a switch in our meals, but I even got tired of barbecued meals.
After having our fourth child, my time to cook was very limited. I found it so challenging to cook for the family and I was too tired to think of what to prepare. As I became overwhelmed with meals, I started to spend a lot on groceries. It was as though I was spending more and more on food, yet I always felt I didn’t have anything to cook with. I was lost and unmotivated. I knew I had to make a change.
Over time, I have done many freezer meals. I mean, I would take a day on my weekend and batch cook meals. I would make a couple of lasagnas, a few chicken and rice casseroles, and slow cooker freezer meals. I always felt accomplished when I had a cooking day. However, it was a lot of work.
I had to make sure I knew what meals I would cook. I would then have to go through my ingredients, double check what I needed to buy. This was followed by a mass grocery shopping day and let’s not forget the lovely grocery shopping bill.
I would batch cook all the meals either on a Saturday or Sunday as I worked 7 to 4 every weekday. The meals would take my whole afternoon, and I would then be utterly exhausted for the evening.
Now, my freezer would be stocked, but I would have lost a day of family time with the kids. My time was already limited with working full time, so my mom guilt was starting to go up. I always had to batch cook between my children’s activities, and try to manage family time with them. My quality family time was reduced and I didn’t enjoy that at all.
Planning around food sales
I follow many people on Instagram that are pro meal planners. They are organized and on the ball. They will look at their local food store flyer and quickly make up a meal plan around sales. They tend to look for the meat sales and make delicious recipes.
I attempted to plan around food sales, but wow did I fail! I felt more overwhelmed as I had to look at the flyers, be creative, and think of meals for the family for that week. I had to either go to several different stores to get the deals, or work with one grocery store’s sales.
This method works well for those who are well organized, and for those who can be creative with food. I am not that person. I cannot think of new ideas. I continued to make my go to meals over and over. This was more work for me as I always had to look at the sales and make sure I could make it work for us. If this is a method you can work with then this is a huge grocery bill saver for you.
This method works great with creativity and proper planning. Check out Simple Made Pretty – Meal Planning Bundle for great templates to use. You look at your flyers, find your deals, write down the meal you will make with your side dishes, and you will feel much less overwhelmed.
Having your meals written down helps everyone at home. If you can’t make it home on time, having it written down will help your partner or child pick up the plan and work with it at home. You can design your plan in detail with your recipes written down, saved in a book, or printed for the cook to use.
Adding as much detail during planning is the key method for success. The better the plan, the less stress you will have later. Even if it does take time to get organized, the time you will be saving for the rest of your week is invaluable. You will double the time, if not more, by being prepared. It’s just dedicating yourself to make that plan.