Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meal Planning When Life Gets Busy

You may have noticed that in the last month, Mike and I have had two weeks with no meal plan. I am willing to admit, when life gets busy, it is easy to jump right towards those prepared meals or take out. However, when I say I don’t have a meal plan, it isn’t because we are eating take-out or prepared meals every day, it is because we are eating what is quickest within our busy lifestyle. Some weeks, creating a meal plan just isn’t in the cards. You can’t plan chaos, so we work with those busy weeks and make the best of it.
This is our after work schedule for this coming week:

Working until 11:30pm
Working until 11:30pm

Home improvement project - Building a bar
Dog training at 5:30pm
After work event,  until 8:00pm
Going to visit a friend’s new house after dinner
After work event, until after 8:00pm
Dog training at 5:30pm and girl’s night afterwards

I am sure this is no different than most busy families. So how am I able to maintain order and healthy eating? It is all about being prepared. You need to take the time to do what you can today, to prepare for the busy week ahead.
I do groceries for meals that will make life easier, which includes as much fresh foods as possible. Then, I create snack bags that are easy to grab and go. This way the other grab and go options like a donut at Tim Horton’s or French fries from Wendy’s are not my first choice. I don’t do them all every week, but these are some of the ones I have used in the past to get us through a busy week:
·        Almonds and dried cranberries (watch not to put too many almonds, they are a very healthy snack but high in fat)
·        Vegetables cut into sticks (carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery, etc)
·        Yogurt and frozen fruit
·        Cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes
What other ways can you save time during a busy week:
·        If I am making oatmeal in the morning, I will make a larger batch so I can put it into single serving containers and it is a fast breakfast for the rest of the week.
·        When you make chicken for dinner, make a couple extra pieces at the same time. You can use the leftovers for lunch the next day or in salads during the week.
·        Make larger batches of easy freezable meals. When we make chili, there is always enough to put two large containers in the freezer, that we can use for dinner on one of those busy weeknights.
·        Remember, breakfast for dinner is always delicious! Sometimes, if I don’t get home until after 8:00pm at night, I can’t have a full dinner and then go to bed less than two hours later. So, sometimes it’s quick eggs for dinner or a hearty bowl of cereal.  
·        Also, something I haven’t tried yet but heard it is a great solution is to make a batch of muffin batter and freeze the batter (before baking) into individual muffin liners. If you have these muffins frozen in the freezer, you can make homemade muffins any day of the week. Just take it out of the freezer and pop it into the oven, just add 7-8 minutes to the normal cooking time to allow for it to defrost while baking.
There are thousands of excuses you can make when you have a busy week whether it be work related or social commitments, but you can choose to spend your time being productive rather than using it to make endless excuses and you might just find, it can all work out.
What do you do to make a busy week a little easier?

1 comment:

  1. To make my life easier I try to follow the same steps you suggested above, but I fail 60% of the time.

    I need to make a better effort!

    I love when I do have my meal plan done, it makes my life that much easier.