During my first week of work, post college graduation, I came to a crazy realization: “I can just eat cookies for dinner tonight and no one will know.” [my mom cringes as she reads this] I had just settled into an apartment, in a new city, and I was living on my own for the first time in my life. My mom & dad had helped me move in and stocked my fridge before they left town. I came home from work and stared blankly at the full fridge. I was so hungry. And so impatient. And so tempted by the box of cookies in the cupboard. And for the first time in my life, I was living alone and realized NO ONE WILL KNOW.
That night, I ate only cookies for dinner. And now you all know.
Making dinner has always been a struggle for me. When I’m hungry, it takes over. I lose patience. I get cranky. And pretty much straight up unpleasant. [I love the term ‘hangry’ because that’s totally me!]
After marrying a wonderful man who considers ‘cooking’ to be microwaving a Lean Pocket, I started to feel the pressure in the kitchen. We were both working full time and ending the day exhausted. It was around that time that I started experimenting with meal planning– spending a few minutes on the weekend choosing meals for the week. I grocery shopped accordingly & somehow the plan helped keep those hangry feelings at bay. [I also experimented with various meal planning services, 15 minute meal or crockpot cookbooks & weekend prepare ahead meals… but more about that in a post coming next week!]
Keeping it real… we have been married almost 6 years now and there have been way more weeks where I did NOT pull a plan together. But now that I’m staying at home, have a hungry toddler to feed & am focusing on feeding my family ‘real food’, menu plans are my lifeline. Also, it’s pretty typical for me to leave most breakfast & lunch squares blank because I only pre-plan my dinner menus. Breakfast & lunch are much easier for me to ‘just wing it’ (and usually it’s leftovers). What can I say? Sometimes I just like to live on the edge like that. [tip: I find it’s helpful to have breakfast/lunch/dinner listed, especially when we are planning ahead for visitors!]
And stay tuned for next week when I share some of my favorite quick & healthy weeknight dinner recipes! [subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss it]