How Meal Planning Revolutionized my Life
I've got a burning secret to tell you. Life can get overly crazy in a minute if we aren't intentionally guarding our time and making room for what matters most in life. You probably see this subtle (or maybe not so subtle?) undertone in my writing and what I share online that margin and slowing down, living by our values for what we want to be true of us when we're 80 is really so important. It's so important. So what does this have to do with meal planning? I'ts not disconnected.
I know, this post's title is a pretty bold and gutsy one. But here's the thing. I 100% believe it to be true, and I want to share with you why. I wouldn't waste our time (yours or mine) if the Seasonal Meal Planner didn't work. I've put 9+ months of time into preparing it, getting feedback, testing and tweaking, and I want you to know all the benefits it can add to your life this year before our pre-orders close on November 20th.
↓ ↓ NEED TO LISTEN AND NOT READ RIGHT NOW? WATCH THE REPLAY OF MY LIVE CLASS BELOW ↓↓
Live Class: How Meal Planning Can Revolutionize your Life + Practical How To Pre-Order your SMP ---> bit.ly/SMPLearnMorePosted by Natasha Red on Tuesday, November 14, 2017
1. Decision Fatigue
Here's the deal - we have an abundance of decisions that we make all throughout the day. Some we are aware of and some we aren't so conscious of, but can I get an amen that we get downright fatigued from making decisions all day?! What often happens is that after a long day of school, work, mothering, etc. we get home at 5 o'clock and just then start thinking about dinner. Cue overwhelm and dread. We open the fridge to find a bunch of random ingredients and a fried brain that can't figure out how to pull them all together. So we throw together a bowl of oatmeal or order in pizza because our brains simply can't take any more decisions.
Y'all, it doesn't have to be this way. We can enjoy time around the table with our family and even invite others into our meal time rhythms, sharing the love of Christ with them. We CAN put simple healthy food on the table and not have to add any additional decisions to our day! Here's how I do it:
- I plan our meals on a seasonal rotation. You may have heard me talk about this before, but I choose 16 (give or take) dinner recipes that are tried and true. I base this off of what produce is in season at the time (seasonal produce lists located in the Resource section of the SMP).
- I write down where all my recipes are located so I don't have to waste time during meal planning or before trying to make a meal searching for where in the world it was.
- I do my seasonal planning 4 times a year, making it super doable and low maintenance. The payoff for this little bit of work done at the beginning of the season pays off in dividends when I go to plan my weekly menu. I simply choose from my already curated list what fits into that weeks schedule or sounds good to us. This saves me a crazy amount of time....cutting my weekly meal planning down to about 20 minutes.
PS: I share my seasonal recipe rotations every season, so you don't even have to worry about making one of your own, I'll help you out!
Because I work off of a seasonal recipe rotation and have all my meals planned for the week ahead, I have so much more time to spend with the people I love. This doesn't have as much to do with the SMP as it does just meal planning in general, but I have seen a huge difference in the peacefulness of our home especially during the late afternoon hours because of this.
For example, I am able to take the kids out to the park, or on a last minute errand because I tend to cook dinner earlier in the day. If I don't fully cook everything, I at least assemble things so that all I have to do is pop it in the oven, simmer and heat up, etc. I wrote a post about cooking earlier in the day that you can read right here.
Simply being able to look at the meal plan posted on my fridge and know what I need to make that night is a game changer. Imagine how much time I would waste thinking about WHAT to cook everyday if I hadn't done it ahead of time? I'd be stressed out trying to feed these hungry kids, instead of loving on them, training and playing with them. Or reading a good book while they play outside, ha! ;)
3. Deeper relationships
Because I have a plan for our meals, my time and energy is freed up to spend more time with people. This sounds silly, but it's honestly so true and as believers, the crux of our lives. The greatest commandment tells us to love God and love others, so the time that we invest in the souls of other people really matters. You may not make the direct connection between meal planning and investing in others, but think about this: we will share approximately 20,000 meals with our children over the course of their childhood (Sally Clarkson). That is a crazy amount of opportunities to connect with our children over a meal. Since we are having meals with our family anyway, why not invite others to join in and deepen relationships with them as well? I have been richly blessed in the last 5 years as I have made space in our schedules to meal plan, because it allows me to take into consideration those who may join us for a meal, and plan accordingly. Because if we aren't intentional, will hospitality ever really happen?
By eating seasonally, I am able to purchase produce that is currently in season, saving money and actually eating healthier. I also save money by making a grocery list and sticking by it. Having all my meals, snacks and meal prep already listed helps me to make a complete list and not forget anything either while I'm out, which I did quite a bit before using the SMP. I feel like anytime I would go to the store for "just one thing," I inevitably ended up with more than just one thing... hitting the grocery store just once a week has definitely been good for our budget.
I'd love to hear from you! Do you meal plan, and if so, how do you do it? What benefits have you seen from meal planning?