Something has happened that I swore wouldn’t happen for as long as I could manage it.
For the first time ever, we have evening activities. Twice a week.
Having a routine family dinner is super important to me, as is bedtime for my children who hate sleeping. Before now we rarely, and I mean rarely, ever planned activities for the evenings. But for some reason a crazy person in my house (that was me, by the way. I blame pregnancy brain.) signed both girls up for swim lessons and gymnastics from 5:00-6:00pm twice a week. And just like that, meal time is now crazy time. Luckily, there are two easy ways that I help to maintain some control.
Meal Planning tends to get a bad rap for being boring and stressful and time consuming. But… (and don’t shoot the messenger, here)… that really only happens if you aren’t doing it right. Spending a small amount of time planning can seriously lessen the stress and craziness of the average weekday, reduce the amount of trips you take to the grocery store, and stop you from turning into Cersei Lannister whenever one of your kids mentions they are hungry.
- If you are one of those people who must plan out every single meal yourself (I get it, totally! Sometimes you just have to have ONE thing you are completely in charge of, right?!) but the actual process usually takes you like 4 days, 7 hours and 52 minutes? Yeah… I’ve been there! Instead of going at it all willy-nilly and being completely overwhelmed by every cookbook, blog, and Pinterest image you find, learn how to implement a few easy systems to make meal planning efficient for you! Let me teach you how to make meal planning actually work FOR you – and get a fun printable workbook, too! Learn “How to Meal Plan Like A Boss” here!
- Does the thought of planning out every single meal give your tummy the stress-gurgles? Or maybe you really don’t have time to do it properly? That’s ok! I have an awesome solution for you, too! These easy and awesome plans are developed entirely by a Chef who knows exactly what you need in a weeknight schedule! I mean, who doesn’t want a personal chef?! Included are 5 meals which are perfect for crazy busy nights, (including recipes that reuse leftovers), super easy prep, chef’s tips for each recipe, and – hello – a wine pairing! The meal plan also comes with a print-out so you can easily keep track of your other meals (like breakfast/lunch) and snacks for the week, as well as a printable and color coded grocery list. Chef Shelley does an AMAZING job of creating awesome family friendly meal plans that actually work – they are easy, delicious, and the people you are trying to feed will actually eat them. When you think about how much time you waste attempting to make your own meal plan – this one is TOTALLY worth every penny (and then some!) Get the Meal Plans here!
Once again, you find yourself at the grocery store with small children on a Saturday morning, when the entire freaking universe also happens to be there. You spend the entire time either ignoring the fact that your children are crazy monsters or giving them cookies and samples just so they will shut up and stay with you. And I don’t even want to mention how many times you wonder how acceptable it would be to open the wine before you leave the store (I mean, its ok with cookies, why not the wine?!). I am fully aware that the last thing you want to do the second you come home from the grocery store is prep food. I sooo get it.
But a few minutes of washing and chopping ahead of time can lessen your work load later tremendously. A few things I suggest doing:
- Prep kid’s snacks ahead of time, both for during and after school. Not only will this help those angels of yours gain some independence by allowing them to choose what snacks they have each day, but it also frees up some of your time every day. I suggest using containers like these YumBox Mini Snack Boxes, or these Sistema Snack Containers (we also like these Sistema ones). They are great for turning snacks into grab-and-go items!
- Prep ALL your fruits and veggies for the week. Instead of chopping an onion every single night, chop a bunch at one time and then each night you can just grab what you need. This makes prepping school lunches and dinners so fast your family will think they are at Jimmy John’s. Store your prepped fruit and veggie in glass container like these bad boys, which are dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe.
Looking for other great resources that make life easier? Check these posts out: