Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meal Planning Part I - Purpose

I mentioned last fall that I was going to do a post on my meal planning system. I didn't forget, I just talked myself out of it. I felt sort of silly after I posted about my laundry system. I mean, really? Is this what it comes down to? Posting about laundry and meals?

I've been inspired by Joanne's theme of economy and then I read Holly's post about meal planning last week, and I decided that maybe I have some things I can throw into the mix. I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things that might help someone else.

So I'm rolling with it. Before I begin though, I want to give you a little background.

A few years ago, John came in from work and asked me what we were having for dinner. It was a summer evening, and I'd been at home with the kids all day doing much of nothing. I answered him honestly, "I don't know". I realized that "I don't know" was a frequent response of mine. He'd walk in the door (hungry) after working hard all day and I was very unprepared to meet an immediate need of his.

I felt very convicted in that moment. My hard-working husband asks very little of me. My kids were old enough that life didn't feel so labor intensive all the time. I was at home all day every day and yet I still struggled with getting a meal on the table. 

I didn't really know what to do with that conviction, so I started praying about it. I didn't love cooking (at all) and saw it as a necessary evil. I began asking God to change my heart and to give me a desire to minister to my husband and family in this way. 

That may sound like a strange thing to pray about, but I really wanted to change my ways and my attitude, and I can say with all honesty that God did begin to grow that desire in me. I purposed for a month to look at preparing dinner as my "job". If I only accomplished one thing every day, I wanted it to be dinner. I can be pretty determined when I want to be and I was VERY determined to follow-through on this.

So, if you're new to meal planning, I guess the first place to start is to ask yourself what your purpose in doing this is. Is it to minister to your family? To save money (a great by-product of planning!)? To meet a physical need? To eat healthier? To spend time quality time together as a family over dinner? Determine your purpose and go from there.

Next up: The technical stuff

16 comments:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Great post!! I feel a similar guilt when there's no supper on the table (or it's breakfast for supper for the 3rd time this week) when Joel comes home. I find having a meal plan makes me more likely to cook even when nothing else is different. I also save money in the store. We eat healthier. And it doesn't take me as long to shop. Not to mention I feel less stress and pressure. Not to mention I feel less stress and pressure. Planning your meals, be it for the week or month, is a great idea.

Ali said...

This was such a great post! I have answered, "I don't know" so many times when asked what the plan was for dinner by my husband or my 5 or 2 year old. It is something I'm not proud of. I definitely want to grow in that area. In December I made my first dinner meal plan (in a very long time) I just planned for Monday - Friday and it was a huge hit with my family. January I've been in project and organization mode and I have not made a new meal plan so I've been winging it. Thanks for posting your meal plan. It will be a great resource!

~ Ali

Kellie said...

LOve reading your thoughts on this subject!

Preplanning meals for us also means "healthier" meals...less eating out and few pre-packaged meals.

This also helped when The Mister (and now the kids) would come in and ask "What's for dinner?"

The Mister doesn't cook. At all. He does lot's of other thing around here, but no cooking. Sometimes I get tired of making the decision of what to eat each night, so pre-planning helps.

I have TOTALLY gotten out of my habit since the move and I can tell by my pocketbook and how I feel. Even the kids are feeling it...

Anyway, I am also trying to get back into my meal planning ways, so it will be fun to see your lists and plans!

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Really thoughtful post, something I needed to hear. I stumbled it, see if you get any referrals and if you do let me know!

Gretchen said...

I think if I can pray about lost luggage, you can certainly pray about ministering to your family. Isn't He the God of all things? :)

What wonderfully expressed thoughts and questions for us to ponder, Mer.

I feel much the same as you (did) re: dinner. It IS a job. But it's an important one, isn't it. REally--no one will throw banquets in our honor for running a home, but it's a foundation for a close, healthy family IMO.

I'll have to think about these questions some more. I think I answered "yes" to most of them, so I have to sharpen my goals.

It's All Good! said...

The scripture that says, Whatsoever you do, do as unto the Lord, pops into my mind as I was reading you post. It's so much easier on ourselves and our families when things even as seemingly inconsequential as putting on the table is planned out. Relieves a lot of stress.
I look forward to reading more about this topic.

Jacquie said...

I loved this post, Meredith! A little convicting, but a great post.

Holly said...

I am lovin' this! Looking forward to reading more, friend!

Scrapper Mom said...

Oh my goodness. This is so me. My husband, like yours, asks so very little of me. He even irons his own clothes, but every single night, the answer is I don't know to the dinner question. I've not been as convicted about it (yet) as you..lol, but I'm looking forward to hearing how God helped you remedy this.

Jennifer said...

We must be on the same wavelength Mer! I just did a menu plan last week and had it for two weeks on the fridge. I have to say that it was great to watch Craig and the kids check out what's for dinner. I found out this weekend that they were even talking about it to friends! Our friends asked me about the chicken recipe that they were raving about. LOL I had to laugh.
But you know what else, it's been such a peace for me......seriously. I have felt much more at ease........not rushed, not in a panic. Nothing, nada! Just kinda matter of fact. I love it!

Another good thing is that it allows more of a diverse menu. I sometimes feel I am in a rut with what to cook as well.

This, couponing and Dave Ramsey are some of my goals. Can't wait to see your menu!!

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Great! I've been looking forward to this for a while. I didn't forget either!

Amy said...

So true! What a ministry to our families! Love the post about your purpose!!!

Amy said...

I guess this another example of how renewing your mind can transform your life. You are so right. When we look at our "jobs" as wives, mothers, daughters and give them the same energy and excellence as we would a 9-5 job, we can't help but do things differently. I needed to be reminded of this! Thanks, Meredith!

carpoolqueen said...

I am a meal-planning junkie. Blog away, dear friend, blog away. I usually have three lists of stuff going related to "what's for dinner". It's the most fun way I minister to my family. I just wish I felt the same way about cleaning bathrooms....

Tiffani said...

oh girl...I am so with you..I'm convicted of MANY things and my time management skills for being at home all day..

And for the record..I like your laundry system post and USED it myself while Adam was in TX...so see you helped someone out!

I am honored by you sharing your ideas of any kind b/c your thoughts behind them make me feel like I'm not the only dealing with this stuff!

Becca said...

Good post. I too find myself unprepared for supper, unfortunately many times during the week. I don't love to cook and find it hard to come up with something we all will like. I look forward to your meal plans!