”This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun” -Julia Child
I like to cook. I love to buy cook books and pour over their pages dreaming of the scrumptious healthy meals my family will gobble up. I like to plan a menu. But something I never lost from my childhood is the “have to”. If I have to do it, I don’t want to. I believe that I “have to” plan 21 meals, 21 toddler friendly meals, a week. Oh my heavens! I know me, I might do it once, I might even do it 2 weeks in a row, but that 3rd week will be half take out and half what I can grab from the fridge. I want to be successful at homemaking, not perfect. So I needed work arounds that were healthy and a plan that was enjoyable.
Here is what I came up with to make our lives healthier and easier.
- I made a list by category of all the things my kiddos eat and organized them into daily meals and snacks to ensure they get all their daily needs.
- The children’s breakfast, lunch and snacks will be the same week to week. They love routine and it gives me a standard shopping list.
- I only planned for Mon through Friday. My husband takes care of many of the meals on the weekends. He is Italian and can make the most amazing pasta dishes out of just about anything. Plus we can now eat out without guilt.
- A salad with every dinner meal. It’s a green and a quick and easy side.
- We have spaghetti once a week and sandwiches on Friday. That means I now have to decide on only 3 Meals.
- Those three meals are one casserole, one crock pot and one single pot quickie.
- I do 80% of the cooking one day a week. I steam carrots, boil eggs, prebake fries and cook the casserole, etc.
- Last but most importantly, I print a menu and put it on the fridge.
Now I can sit down with my cookbooks and a cup of tea for fun! It becomes a moment for myself, not a “have to”. I no longer “have to” stand in front of the pantry skimming my brain for a pop of genius that is dinner, only to end up sending my Husband to the nearest drive through.