Meal Planning…The Quest Continues!

The truth is this: I’m starting to get discouraged with my meal planning efforts, which in reality are barely on paper; just wishes, hopes, and dreams in my mind.

After reading this wonderful the post Mastering Meal Planning from The Nourishing Home I realized what the number one thing that is holding me back. Her first step is “create a “Master List of Meals” that your family enjoys.” Really, really good advice I thought! And then quickly I realized we are a family of very few meals. I rarely use recipes. Rather, I just sorta bake a meat and a veggie or two (not anything fancy from a recipe mind you, just the plain ole peas steamed with maybe a dab of butter), and throw in a fruit for dessert.

We just eat very simply.

This is good and bad. I grew up with my mom always having lots of variety and trying out new recipes. My dad would eat anything, and if us kids didn’t like something we still tried it and politely expressed we preferred a different meal better.

The reason I don’t really use recipes is because I can’t make casseroles, soups, rice dishes/stir frys, I can’t make things that are too saucy, too spicy, too vegetably, too…DIFFERENT! The reason I can’t is because I would be the only one eating said exciting, flavorful, variety packed dishes, and that just isn’t very economical! Though Sweet C is not a picky eater, she does like to have her food prepared rather simply and separate. I have not trained her to do this, but she automatically separates her meat, pasta, veggies, whatever from each other. It’s okay if they touch, she just doesn’t like stuff mixed together…Know what I mean? And my beloved hubby, well, he is just sort of a meat and potato man. Although he does eat fruit and the occasional veggie on the side.

So, what’s a wise woman to do? I need to manage my home, be prepared, economical, organized, and feed my family in a healthy way. I also need to be respectful of my husband. And then it dawned on me…I mean, really, there must have been a little light bulb that flashed above my head!

Simple is GOOD!

Not the simple of “let’s just eat mac and cheese” and the easy, non-healthy processed food and fast food diet. (Which we have done in the past and are now choosing to leave those ickies behind!) The simple I am referring to is: don’t stress out and do what is good for your family. What is good for my family is not lamenting over recipe after recipe I can’t make and everybody else is making (or at least pinning over on Pintrest). I am choosing to no longer stress out over “if onlys”.

What I am going to do is be who we are as a family. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on leading a healthy lifestyle. There are still tons of ways we can improve, but it doesn’t have to be through all the other recipes people are posting. As long as we are getting the nutrients that our bodies need and we like the taste of what we eat and I’m not breaking the bank…then I am going to CELEBRATE!

So, I will make a master list of meals (or just plain old whole foods, sort of like fruit and veggie list). And if it only has ten meals on it, then so be it!

After I get a little routine going, then I have decided to have my fun, and experiment, and add variety through simple side dishes. I will aim to always have two side dishes. A guaranteed side hubby will love (ie mashed potatoes) and a side me and Sweet C can enjoy, and if dear hubby wants to take a taste he will be more than welcome to it!

Off the top of my head here is the beginning of my meal list:

Spaghetti with Prego Sauce and Ground Beef
Hamburgers
Baked Chicken
Beef Pot Roast
Pizza with pepperoni (and bacon if possible)
Eggs and Toast

Simple Sides I already make and no recipe required:

Mashed potatoes
Steamed corn
Steamed peas
Baked sweet potato
Steamed brocoli (but haven’t made in a while due to breastfeeding…)
Baked Carrots
Steamed green beans
Diced tomato (mainly for Sweet C, one of her absolute faves!)
and whatever fruit we have on hand, just plain and raw, but delicious!

Here’s to the simple life, learning to be content with things you can not change (perhaps this is also flexibility peppered with grace?), and also making the changes starting in your own life that need improved.

What do you think of simple is good?

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8 thoughts on “Meal Planning…The Quest Continues!

  1. Hi, Sara! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your heart-felt article and how honored I am to be part of your epiphany to live more contently and embrace simplicity. I think you’re right on the mark! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or involve multi-ingredient recipes. Just because some folks really enjoy variety and complexity of flavors when cooking/eating, doesn’t mean this has to be the case for everyone. Living a whole food lifestyle is simply about moving away from processed/packaged convenience foods and embracing the rich bounty of real food the Lord has provided for our health and well-being – it sounds like you are already on this journey and so there’s no need to get stressed or bummed just because you’re journey is different. I love the reminder of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 6 to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and everything else will be added, and Paul’s reminder in 1 Timothy 6 that “there is great gain in godliness with contentment.” So I think you truly are a wise woman in listening to the Spirit to be content and being happy – celebrating – the simplicity of nourishing your family in the way that works best for you all! Thanks so much for the shout-out and I wish you the very best as you strive to serve the Lord and your family joyfully! Many blessings to you, Kelly

  2. Sara, I am happy that you posted this! I see alllll of these wonderful sounding recipes on Pinterest and I would love to be able to make them, BUT…it really isn’t in the cards for me right now, financially, to pay for all the ingredients for each of those meals especially when it is only going to serve one person. I am also learning (finally!) to use what I have before going out and buying other things. Like I have plenty of fruits and vegetables (they are canned, but again, I am no chef, lol and I figure it is better than nothing! lol) so there is no need to buy those, and I need to remember to use those along with the “fancier” meals, like with chicken, spaghetti and other noodle type meals. I do like to make my own breakfast sandwiches now and then instead of buying a pack of 2 or 4 at the grocery store for $5 or $6 lol, and mine actually end up staying pretty darn good! And Belle gets excited when I make them because she gets to have some eggs 🙂 Same when I make chicken, she always gets to have some 🙂

    I still will have mac and cheese sometimes, a frozen pizza, and plenty of turkey sandwiches, haha, but I think I am slowly moving in a slightly better and healthier direction. I want to be able to really like my food and not just eat it because it is healthy.

    I wanted to ask how you end up making something like barbecue chicken or some other flavored chicken in the oven? Do you add the ingredients first while it’s baking or after? I’d like to add a little more flava to my chicken 😉 lol

    Thanks for this post!! I am glad simple can be GOOD! 🙂

    • You are doing a great job, Jessica. Slow and steady wins the race! And you’re right, you’ve got to do what you can do at the present moment and not get ahead of yourself. And hey, canned fruits and veggies are still healthy 🙂 and definitely better than not eating them at all! Also, when we eat our once a week pizza, it is bought, not made, and I know that is not health food by any means, lol! But, moderation is key.
      I actually make pretty plain chicken because the hubby just adds ketchup to it no matter what, and he actually isn’t that fond of BBQ…so I really don’t have much experience with that. But with herbs or spices put those on the chicken before baking.
      Glad you found this helpful. And if you can, get a little crockpot, they are amazing!

  3. Simple is very good! You probably don’t remember when we ate very simple meals with not a whole lot of variety. You are on the right track for what works for your family! love you and proud of your decisions!

  4. Our meals are really simple too!! I do make casseroles merely for the fact to use up leftovers but no recipe required…think macaroni, meat, vegetables and some kind of homemade sauce I come up with…but then that’s the whole meal!!! I remember my mom always had a large variety of stuff on the table too…jello salads, homemade bread, fruit salads, lettuce salads…haha!! Their generation must have been more ambitious then us!!!

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