Thanks to inspiration from The Frugal Girl, I have started menu planning in hopes of cutting back waste, cutting expenses, cutting preservatives, minimizing mealtime frustration & improving our grocery shopping efficiency. I have had a bad habit of waiting until about a half hour before a meal and then scrambling to come up with something...this resulted in extra trips to the store, spontaneous fast food meals, & ample frustration on the part of me and my husband. Russ has been suggesting for years that I plan meals but I just didn't want to...my stubborn streak comin' out, more than likely. *wink* But after reading The Frugal Girl's blog I found the inspiration I'd been lacking and decided to try it. Now the challenge is to make it last.
I've almost completed the first week and I have next week's menu already planned out & my shopping list made. This week was fantastic! We barely bought any groceries at all because I planned the menu with the intent of using up some of the stuff we already had on hand. I always get a thrill out of using stuff up & I love the challenge of conserving money but the biggest benefit that I noticed this week was the lack of energy I had to put into thinking about food. The amount of time I spent preparing food went up significantly but was far less stressful than the time I usually spend just thinking about the next meal. Seriously.
I suppose part of the reason for this has to do with my relationship with food. I hate food. I have never had to worry about counting calories or gaining weight...I hold the belief that I have a extra fast metabolism (may not be the case but...) I often can eat as much as a man and then turn around and be hungry again in 2 hours. If (as was often the case) I go too long without eating, I begin to display symptoms similar to that of a hypoglycemic. I become ridiculously weak, sometimes dizzy, emotionally unstable & completely incapable of making any decisions. So, as soon as I finish a meal I begin wondering when/what I'm going to eat next. If I go too long without making a decision about the next meal, I have my melt down and then physically am incapable of making that decision which leaves my husband in a pretty bad position.
It took awhile before he or anybody in my family really took my meltdowns as a physical problem. For a long time I think they thought I was just being a brat but I think they are finally convinced that I really can't help it if it gets to that point. So...all of that to say that this menu planning is a long needed relief. This frees me from the daily burden of wondering if I'm going to have something substantial to eat by the time I'm hungry again. I have all the meals already decided a week in advance...so I can have all the ingredients already purchased in advance and I can just go into the kitchen and start cooking...no thinking involved!
I hope that this is something that will be a routine in my house for years to come. Encouragement is welcome!