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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Menu Planning

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!


Mandie said...

I plan out our menus a month at a time. Before I started going by a menu the kids would come home from school hungry and I'd have to scramble to find them a snack. Then I'd scramble to figure out what I was going to fix for dinner while they tried to do their homework without me. It really made for some grouchy afternoons for all of us. It's amazing to me how much less stress is in our household when I have the menu planned out. Not to mention the cost savings. I always have a 3 month supply of food in the house to rotate. That way I am able to pick up stuff when it is on sale rather than when I need it. By using a menu and rotating my pantry I have cut our grocery budget down from $700/mo for the six of us to $500.

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

Yay! I'm so glad you've decided to join the menu planning crowd. I hope this new habit serves you well. :)