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Spotlight On: Menu Planning

You could tell yesterday was a Monday. I disorientedly walked around getting ready for work; get dressed, check email, make coffee, pack lunch, grab everything and head out the door.

Only I left my freshly made coffee ON the kitchen table and didn’t remember until I was at work. I can purchase coffee here (which ironically tastes better than when I make it at home – no matter what I try) but at $2 a pop, it adds up. So I brew my own.

And leave it at home.

It dawned on me how similar this is to my approach at meal planning. There is SO much focus on meal-planning and I think that’s because it’s something we all struggle with. Right? If yummy, quick, healthy food was plopped in front of our faces 3x a day, we’d resist the temptation for the take out, the restaurants, and the frozen pizzas.


Look at my situation. Two nights a week I have 30 min from the end of work before I need to drive over for class. Class ends after 9pm – way too late to eat then, which means I need to shovel something into my mouth as SOON as I get home. No time for fancy!

Then there’s 1-2 nights a week where I drive over to Ben’s to hang out in the evening. We usually eat dinner together, have nothing planned, and end up making pasta and chicken or heading to a restaurant because it’s easier than going to the store and then cooking.

The weekends have started to get better. Prior to Ben’s all-week excursions to TX, I’ll make a large pot of something and there will be leftovers for a couple meals.

Then the weekend rolls by and I end up throwing away those leftovers because Ben “forgot” they were in there. I usually throw out broccoli too.

Shall I get to the point? 🙂

People always say to menu plan. That’s great IF you have the time to follow through and make what you bought and IF you eat it all afterwards. If you do, super – stick to menu planning!

For me, with a busy and inconsistent schedule, I just multitask.

Menu Planning Tip #1: Cook more than one meal and freeze the rest

Sunday nights I cook up lunches for Mon, Tues, and Wed and dinner for Mon and Tues since I have zero time with classes. Then I just heat and serve. Easy!

Menu Planning Tip #2: Have non-menu quick snacks around

You have good intentions and a fridge/freezer stockpiled with healthy meals and eats. Then you discover you have an emergency or something pop up. No time to make that meal. Instead of heading for fast food, keep a stockpile of snacks you can nibble on instead. My favorite? Larabars

Menu Planning Tip #3: Take advantage of sales but PREP all at once

This past weekend the store had gorgeous strawberries on sale 2/$3. Those are summer prices around here! I stocked up! Too often my fruit goes bad because I forget it’s in there. Now I wash and cut up enough fruit for the first couple of days RIGHT AWAY and put into baggies. Then I just reach into the fridge, grab a bag, and go. Easy and quick.

I’m hoping to get into some new semblance of order after Ben’s traveling winds down (and after the semester ends in April!). But until then, these tips are helping me make better food choices.

What are your tips for busy/crazy schedules??


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