Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Ha! You thought I forgot, didn't you. It's okay, you can admit it - I have ignored you for quite some time. So, what tip could I have for this Tuesday?

Put your meal plan on your calendar - preferably the one you carry in your purse.

I always knew the value of a meal plan was practically limitless. It relieves stress, gives your shopping some guidance, allows you to make use of coupons or sales more efficiently... really, you could just add up all the pros right here and the list would be way too long for this blog. I was once again reminded of the need to have a meal plan by my very helpful husband who, while being entirely willing to help in so many areas, really can't stand walking into his house after work and finding there is no dinner in sight. Better even than that is when he is met with, "What should I fix for dinner, babe?" Yes, I need to honor his time, and our family's 9 bellies better.

However, there is a con. Two to be precise.

1 - making it.
2 - keeping it.

I tackled the first over a couple of days, pulling out the ole pen and paper to once again write down our meal choices that everyone generally likes, are easy to make, and fit with our finances. I assigned each to a day, rotated through a 2-week cycle, and even provided some easy "outs" for nights when things just might be a little too crazy for Duck a l'Orange. Great! I sighed contentedly at my accomplished piece of work before realizing I had only won half the battle.

A help for the other half of that battle (where I traditionally fail) is this Tuesday's Tip.

Keeping a meal plan is about buying your groceries in a way that makes sure you have all the items in stock when it comes to Thursday, and meatloaf is on the menu. Ingredients, side dish options, perhaps dessert all need to be handy if the value of pre-planning is going to pay off. Otherwise you are stuck with more stress. Now, instead of throwing something together with little fuss you either: a) cheat, and use another day's menu, for which you have ingredients, thereby creating editing/grocery work in your plan for the remaining week or b) you feel the compulsion to make a last minute dash to the store in order to fulfill the menu plan. I am sure we can all relate to how thoroughly pleasant last-minute, dinnertime grocery shopping is.

So, I literally wrote down every day's meal plan from now until kingdom come in my personal calendar. This isn't as impressive as it sounds. I use an iTouch, and I just repeated the meals indefinitely. The reason I did this is because I often find myself coming or going from one errand or another, and stopping in at the store isn't any skin off my nose. Now I don't have to rely on always having a prepared list before I can dash in and grab a few things for upcoming meals, saving me from the dinnertime blues!

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