My brother and I used to sing this song all the time when I was little. Oh, Hank Williams. Good memories.
Husband and I have always been meal planners. I remember emailing with a friend a long time ago, talking about our weekly grocery story trip, and she asked, “Really? You only go to the grocery store once a week? Amazing.” There are some weeks when we go for something I’ve forgotten or for something unplanned, like an appetizer for a party or a dessert for a meeting, but for the most part, we’ve always planned our dinners and kept our meals pretty organized.
Then we went gluten-free. No celiacs here at our house, but after Baby Girl was born, we were trying to figure out what I was eating that might be causing her large spit-ups (via nursing), and wheat-based products were a big culprit. (So were chocolate and red wine. I KNOW! Painful. When we were talking about what it could be, Husband said, “Maybe you could try cutting just three of the top allergens: dairy, wheat, and chocolate.” My reaction? “YOU CUT DAIRY, WHEAT, AND CHOCOLATE! ARE YOU INSANE?!” In the end, I did cut quite a few things, and he did, too, and Baby Girl improved, and I had to eat my words.)
After going wheat-free, I started reading more about gluten, and I think it was a great move for us to make. There are a lot of things showing up that are reactions to how our bodies process wheat, particularly for people who have thyroid issues like me. And, full disclosure, I lost my baby weight and then some more pretty rapidly after I went gluten-free, so that’s been an added bonus.
The problem? Breakfast. For YEARS, I’ve eaten cereal for breakfast. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Like, 20 years, every day. It is possible to find gluten-free cereal, but there are much healthier choices, especially for growing children.
So when it comes to meal planning, there’s a big difference between planning dinners from scratch every day and planning 3 meals from scratch every day. I needed to be more organized.
Enter my new meal planner. It’s very simple, but it allows me to be PURPOSEFUL in planning our week and include good, nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I started by designing a little calendar, leaving space for a quick description for each meal every day. (I created a simple table in Microsoft Word. You can download the free template here: meal planner)
I found cute, light-colored scrapbooking paper and cut it down to fit into an 8″ x 10″ frame. I loaded the scrapbooking paper in my printer and printed the calendar on it.
Then I put the paper into a simple white frame from Target. The glass on the frame allows me to use dry erase markers to write out our meal plan each week and then erase it when we start over again every week on Saturday morning. (A great tip I just learned from my friend, Molly: When you make your meal plan, it’s a good idea to include where the recipe comes from – cookbook, recipe binder, Pinterest, etc. – so you can find it when you need it, especially if it’s a new recipe.)
I hang it in the kitchen, and we can see at a glance what’s planned for the meals for each day. (It’s next to my cleaning schedule that I created last year. Yes, it still says “Dec.” on it – I’ve not been using it, obviously. Need to be more PURPOSEFUL about that, too. Noted.)
Now, we’re not super rigid about following the schedule, but we love being able to look at the plan, see what meals we have available, and not scramble around piecing breakfast together. Because, really, how well does your mind work at 6:00 am? Yeah, mine either.
This post is part of a 31 Day series about improving my days by being more PURPOSEFUL.