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Saturday, January 11, 2014

meal planning - Mary Gauvin

New Year, Organized Momma
Oh the fun we've been having so far this month checking out the nursery, big kid and play rooms moms have made for their little ones. I hope you've all been enjoying those, I know I sure have! More to come on that.

Along with the new year's theme of changing things up, getting organized, and creating spaces you enjoy to live in came another idea: MEAL PLANNING! It's definitely something I've been inspired to do after hearing several moms in the Mommy Stories Facebook group doing this each week. I have a few moms who have shared some great ideas on how you can easily meal plan for your family. 

Hope this is helpful to you!

Thanks to Mary Gauvin for sharing her great ideas and delicious looking food! LOVE her idea of including the kids on the meals for the week... if you have a child who can give you ideas on what he wants, then ask him!

All photos from Mary Gauvin

1. How long have you been meal planning?  
Since I had my own apartment, so over ten years. 

My mom always meal-planned, with three kids to cart around she needed the structure or we’d eat cereal every night. There were also years when money was tight and she wanted to make sure we ate healthfully. When I was in late elementary school, she gave each of us an evening of the week where we were responsible for the cooking. 

2. When in your week do you meal plan? 
I currently meal plan on Friday evenings or first thing Saturday morning. 

3. Where in the house is your plan kept? 
On the fridge, written on a dry-erase magnetic weekly calendar. I also have it entered into my iCalendar. The fridge calendar is for my husband, who is a visual learner. 

4. Why do you meal plan? Why is it important to you? 
I meal plan for a couple of reasons. 
1) I really enjoy lists
2) I like to keep to the list 
3) It saves money, both upfront at the store and then in wasted food. 

I also find that we eat healthier if the meals are planned. I generally eat Paleo, but I’m taking a break before my husband deploys. 

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado 
and Mint Chocolate Cookies (above)

5. What are a few meal items you typically make each week? Or do you have certain nights set for something like breakfast night or leftover or takeout nights? If so, why those particular nights with those foods? 
We have burrito salad (innards of a burrito without the shell) once a week. 

I also make kale, hot sausage, and sweet potato stir-fry every week. 

There are no set nights, but we probably pick up Chipotle for one night every two-three weeks. 

During the summer, meals are planned around our CSA box, which is even more fun! What do I do with three small eggplants, an onion, and local eggs? Challenge accepted! 

6. What are your tips for other moms who want to start meal planning? What works? What didn't work for you when you started? 
Primarily, make a list and stick to it. 

Meal planning really helps us not over-spend and be wasteful. 

Make sure the recipes that you choose are things that you want to eat. It’s fun to try but if it’s so weird that none of your family will eat it… 

If you have kids that are old enough to voice opinions, ask. 

When my husband is home, I ask him if there are any meals he’d like during the week. Speak now or forever hold your peace, etc. He’s not allowed to complain if he didn’t voice his opinion. 

It’s also important to be flexible. This week, we received three feet of snow and the highways closed… so there were a few extra guests at the dinner table. I had to change my plan around to accommodate. No biggie! 

Pesto Pizza (above)

7. How does meal planning help you be the type of mom you want to be? 
Our 2YO eats a remarkably varied diet. He is a bit of a snob; someone tried to give him Kraft Mac&Cheese and he said, “That’s not mac cheese!” (I make it from scratch for lunches). But he’ll chow down on brussel sprouts, steak, raw spinach, etc. He also loves to help cook. “Mix, mix, Mommy!” I think we are setting a good example. 

8. Anything else you want to add? 
Pinterest is an amazing resource. I do most of my meal planning based on recipes I find there. 

I use recipes as guidelines… my husband jokes that he never eats the same thing twice!

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