Monday, October 26, 2015

Meal Plans and Tray Lunches

A major component to achieving fourth day status (wow, that reads like legislative action was taken or a constitution written) is meal planning. I've written of the virtues of Blue Apron but now I will share my scientific method to meal planning. Get ready, it's mind blowing.

I write down the meals for the week on this pad of paper that has a magnet so it can hang on the refrigerator. High tech, right. Oh, yeah, I also look at our wall hanging family calendar to see what activities are going on for the week. Those activities influence the meals. Busy night equals a crockpot meal (tonight was roast that I prepped this morn) and early evening where we are all at home can be a more detailed, complex meal (let me be clear, nothing like rolled stuffed steak but something that requires a couple of pots and bowls such as spaghetti with a salad).

Since it is football season, we usually don't have to plan a Friday night meal -- that's nachos and hot dogs at the game. And, the girls have dance on Mondays and Wednesdays so those are crockpot or easy prep meal nights.

Meal planning also helps with grocery shopping. We only buy what we need for the week. I sometimes poll the room to find out what the people in my house want to eat for the week but oftentimes the call for spaghetti or pot stickers very night falls on my deaf ears. Fortunately, my eaters are becoming a bit more adventurous. I also don't have to have as much meat since Chris is not here (pause for a tear and sad emoji that I don't know how to add to the blog).

I have many cookbooks. I just bought three more from the used book sale last week. My Pinterest board 'What's Cooking' is also full. I have many, many choices on what to prepare for dinner, yet we stick to our favorites. A few pasta dishes, that I don't eat anymore -- limiting wheat and all; pork chops, chicken, crockpot soups and big salads are staples. Occasionally, we do breakfast for dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches also make an appearance from time to time.

Meal planning is not only based on the week's activities, but also on the next day's lunches. Both G and I bring our lunch most days to work so we do leftovers. Dinners have to be packable and portable for the next day.

Sometimes, the leftovers make their way into the girls' lunch boxes. Nice, right? But the best feeling is when you see that one of your girls picked a tray lunch for the next day. One less box to pack and sandwich to make. Throw a couple of dollars at that. Drop mic.

Meals no matter when or for whom must be organized and planned to help,with fourth part life. Because here I am in my PJs, face washed, girls in bed, reality reunion show on ... Fourth part. In full effect.

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