This week, I am going to post about a different topic rather than the usual meal posts. This week’s article involves planning meals during this lockdown period.
Let’s face it. Thinking up and executing meals is a tough task. Wouldn’t you agree? Did you ever think that making sure the family and yourself are fed daily would be such a monumental nightmare? Well, this virus has put that task at the forefront, and yes, it is hard. It’s not hard only because cooking can be hard if you don’t know how to do it; but, it can be hard because you just don’t want to eat the same damn thing every day!
So how do you avoid food burnout during these times? Plan your meals.
One thing that I do is plan meals out for my family. Let me tell you; try not to plan meals without family input. That’s the key to making this work. Get the significant other and kids involved in the planning because after all, they will be eating the food you cook. Plan the meals out a month in advance. This is an excellent idea because this helps you to budget groceries, too. Instead of making random trips to the grocery store in these very contagious times, planning meals will allow you to buy all the groceries that you need. This meal planning is also a good idea because you can watch what you eat and this will lead to better health. Another fantastic reason that this is an excellent idea is because you won’t have to listen to your kids and spouse say, “What’s for dinner, what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch?” Urrrgh! Now you can politely respond with “Go look at the meal calendar!”
When planning meals, work from easy meals to hard ones. The most leisurely meal to execute is going to be breakfast. I usually eat the same thing daily for breakfast and sometimes nothing at all. So, first go through every day of the month, week by week, and write down what you will be eating for breakfast. I usually do things like cold cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, or eggs and toast. Occasionally I may prepare a “royal breakfast” on the weekends, which includes lots of things: bacon, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, fried apples – the whole nine yards. The royal breakfast is rare because that is too much food to eat regularly early in the morning.
Now go through the entire month and plan your lunch meals. Again, my lunches are not extravagant. I’ll eat something simple – a salad, some soup, a deli sandwich, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or sardines. If you need to prepare things for the kids, do things like hot dogs, cheese and crackers, corndogs – you catch my drift – light but filling stuff.
Next are the dinners. This is where it gets hard. Start with the weekend meals. Plan your Sunday meals first. Usually, these are colossal family meal days that involve a lot of effort, so plan those first. I may do beef stew, baked chicken, roast – things like that on Sundays. Then, go on to Saturdays. This is usually a chill evening, so you don’t want to have to slave over a Saturday night meal when you know that Sunday is going to be the essential meal. I may do something like homemade pizza, burgers, chili dogs, or Philly steaks. Fridays are lazy days too. This can be a light day, or you can do like my family and I have agreed to do now that restaurants are opening back up – make it a fast-food Friday. It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s, but it can be. Maybe you can stop by curbside restaurants like Olive Garden or Red Lobster if you don’t want typical fast food. This is a way to treat yourself to a relaxing evening since you have been cooking all week and, trust me; preparing food all the time is hard!
Now that the weekend meals are done, it’s time to move on to Monday – Thursday meals. I usually make Monday nights a light night for things like beans and weenies or chopped beef over Raman noodles; or, even easier, Sunday leftovers night. This saves time and energy so that you can focus on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Go through each day each week and write down what you want to eat. I usually do things like casseroles, steaks, rice, pasta, Mexican, Caribbean, Indian, and a variety of other types of big meals. If you need to search for meal ideas, surf the net for some to fill in the blanks on the calendar. Maybe you can be adventurous and make Tuesdays an experimental night where you try a meal that you would never usually make just to spice things up.
This all seems boring or annoying at first, but once you get into the habit of meal planning, it will be fun and beneficial. Remember, having other family members’ input will keep things from being redundant.
Would you like to start planning your meals? Click the link below or the calendar image above to get a free copy of the blank calendar. If you want to get updated blank calendars, just type “blank calendar” in the search engines like Google or Yahoo.
I hope you like this segment of my blog. Check back in the future as I resume posting food ideas for lockdown. If you have any questions about preparing this meal, leave them in the comments section or contact me directly here.
Image courtesy of ID 35392393 © Msphotographic | Dreamstime.com