I know what you are thinking… Meal Planning? There are a ton of resources online for that, and to that I would say “Yeah, that’s the problem”
A few years ago, when I had 3 kids under the age of 6 we were struggling, I was stressed. Online there were these moms who seemed like they had it all figured out. They made me feel inferior in my marriage, my parenting, my status. They had their s–t together! I started seeking a way to get things in order. My OCD and ADD are stress induced and I was off the charts!
In the search, I found this community of people who lived by the “once a month” cooking strategy. Meal planning wasn’t really big back then like it is now so I read up on it and it seemed to legitly be changing people’s lives. They were saving time, saving money and who doesn’t want to do that? I was 25 years old, had a newborn, 2-year-old and 5-year-old. It was a hectic time in my life, to say the least. I was just starting my first business and quite frankly, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing on any front in my life. I was grasping at straws.
So, I bought the book ($10, which at the time I am sure was taken away from another bill that had to be paid). I did my planning, I scheduled my day of cooking and I followed through with spending 8+ hours in the kitchen one day “making my life easier”.Here’s what I found, while some of the recipes were OK, the rest were not a hit with my family. We weren’t a fan of reheated casseroles, and it was just an all around #fail – not because of the book, but it just wasn’t a good fit for my family. (However; the spaghetti sauce recipe is on point).
Fast forward about 5 years, and I was still struggling, trying to find the balance. I had recently gone back to work, and started researching food and how it affected health and wellness (along with watching several documentaries like Fed Up, Food Inc, OMG GMO, King of Corn, The Human Experiment, and so many more). We were eating too much fast food, and not enough food at home but who the heck had to time to cook 3 meals per day? I will tell you who, (in my mind) those hippy dippy stay at home moms who lived to please their family. I looked online and saw all kinds of lunches with shapes cut out of cheese, themes, and things that I just wasn’t up to doing – things had gotten worse since my last attempt. Let’s be honest here, I worked 40 hours a week, had 5 hours of commute, had a child in swimming, a child in tee-ball, a child in soccer and a full-time husband – I didn’t have time to make my kids’ lunches look like art.
As I started researching more and more, I realized how far off we had gotten with our health and wellness. So I decided to change that. We were going all organic, all the time. Grass fed meats, foods we had never heard of, plant based sides, no sugar, no carbs and nothing unnatural. Well, I bet you can guess about how well that went and how long that lasted. I realized that cold turkey was not the way, and I had to find a happy medium for my family.
Over the next few weeks, as everyone gears up for the new year and starting new habits (or getting rid of old habits) I am going to share with you the the plan that works for my family. It isn’t 100% clean, it isn’t 100% Organic, but it is 100% doable, and could be used as a stepping stone for your family as well if clean/organic is your ultimate destination. I will share how I feed my family of 5 on a budget of $125 a week (three meals a day). I am going to get detailed. I will even share my meal planning tips, calendar etc. But first, there are a few things I will let you know.
I am NOT a chef, or a gourmet cook. In fact, I would say my cooking skills are subpar. I am not trying to teach you how to cook, I am trying to share a few tools that have helped me along the way. We eat basic meals, nothing takes too long to cook, and I do a lot of prep ahead steps.
If you are interested, join in the journey! Let me know you are wanting this information (and hold me accountable).