Monday, June 09, 2008

Healthy Meal Planning

Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought she had it all figured out . . . She had a menu plan binder.  Each month was a new menu, filled with different dishes each day of the month. This girls doesn't like repeats.  So each day had to be a different type of dish.  Each square in the menu page had a corresponding recipe book and page number for the main dish as well as those for the side dishes.  Almost everything was from scratch and used lots of different vegetables, soy, and whole wheat.

The girl planned on saving each months menu for a couple of years.  "After all" she thought, "then the work will be done and I'll just rotate the menus for ever and ever after."  Sigh.  She started planning her menus.  She did about 10 months worth of menus.  Then things happened.  

Husband got a new job,  family moved, husband was given responsibilities at church, kids went crazy, more kids were added.  The menu planning stopped. "That's okay! Good thing I have all these menus to just fall back on," she thought. 

Did girl use the menus she created? No, that would have required reading them and shopping for the ingredients.  That would have required advance planning and serious cooking. This girl sometimes just couldn't figure out how to fit it all in.  What was she going to do?

Girl comes up with a new menu planning system: THEME nights! Monday: Breakfast for Dinner Tuesday: Pizza Night Wednesday: Rice Night Thursday: Pasta Night Friday: Kids Cook Saturday: Sandwiches and salads  Sunday: Crock-Pot dinners or soups in the winter and Salads in the summer

This plan has worked wonders in the sanity saving department. Girl is lucky to have one dish on the table let alone even think about a side dish or two. For example, girl brings home her kids late from Hap-ki-do practice on Monday nights. Sometimes she makes a vegetable frittata but sometimes COLD CEREAL to the rescue! Tuesday nights- sometimes she'll make whole wheat pizza crust topped with lots of veges and fresh mozerella cheese but sometimes she slices french bread in half, pours on jar of spaghetti sauce, tops with pre-grated cheese and calls it a night.  SHHH! Sometimes she even calls her husband and tells him to stop and pick up a couple $5 pizzas.  

Girl's kids LOVE the theme nights. However, girl is realizing that perhaps she needs to do a little better. Perhaps combining both planning ideas into one grand routine. Perhaps healthier alternatives could be found for favorite meals.  Perhaps the side dishes could be added back in.  

Guess what? Girl is me.  In honor of this months "health and fitness" theme (I guess we like themes around here), I really want to try and get my meal planning and cooking healthier and better organized.  I'm going to TRY to create more monthly meal plans with meals that fall under our meal themes for each night.  With at least ONE side dish.  

I'll keep you posted.