When my kids were all little, and keeping everyone happy and fed was a challenge, I read a story about Eleanor Roosevelt that forever changed my outlook about meal preparation. I would no longer have those days when 3 o’clock would roll around, and I would start to get the jitters wondering what I would put on the table for dinner that night.
Eleanor Roosevelt (as the story goes) would have a two week meal plan that she would use over and over again to feed her six hungry children. At the beginning of each week there were no surprises, she always knew what meals she would be serving and what ingredients she needed to buy for each meal. By sticking to her plan, she was able to reduce unnecessary stress and serve nutritious meals to her family. Brilliant!
I found this very inspiring (even if my meals were not gourmet inspiration) and it was a plan that I implemented for many years to come. And the funny thing is that you would think that the family would complain. After all, week after week, you’d expect things to get a little boring, no?
Well, I never heard a complaint and in fact my kids would look forward to their favorite meals each week;
“Oh this Wednesday is spaghetti and meatballs” or one of my kids would say:
“I can’t wait for Thursday when we have vegetable patties”
My meal planning definitely evolved over the years and certainly became more whole foods based , but having a plan made my afternoons less stressful and I always had a nutritious meal ready and waiting for my kids at dinnertime.
That’s not to say that you can’t change things up every once in a while, or even for a week if that’s what you want to do (after you get that new cookbook for a gift!) But the point is that you can always fall back on your good ole meal plan to get you through those crazy busy days and not have to agonize over what you’ll be making for dinner tonight.
You can add a soup or a special dessert if the desire strikes; but having a plan means that you’re always in control and not stressing over what you’ll be making for the next meal. And you also always have the ingredients that you’ll need on hand so that you won’t have to pile the kids in the car and make that last minute dash to the grocery store.
Family Meal Time
Not to mention the benefit of family meal time. Having dinner planned and ready, also allows you to sit down and share time with your kids (yeah right!) Ok, maybe not all the time, but there will be those days when the baby is fed and happy and things are relatively calm and you can actually sit down and talk with your kids.
Studies show that having dinner together as a family is one of the factors that keep kids emotionally sound and less likely to be at risk in the teenage years. That’s worth a meal plan, no?
Here’s to happy cooking and look for a future post of simple, tasty and nutritious meal ideas that you can serve to your family. Best of luck on your journey!