I started meal planning just this year – early into my second son’s first few months.
It took a bit of time to find my updated routine now that we had added another baby to the mix. When it came to dinner time (which is around 6 p.m for our family) – I’d look in the fridge/freezer/pantry and see what was available or sounded good. I started noticing our dinner routine running too late – a lot! It was taking me too much time figure out what to cook AND cook it PLUS clean up then our bedtime routine is a whole other timely process. We weren’t even getting the kids in bed by 8pm let alone asleep – and that leaves very little mommy-daddy time during the work week.
In addition to taking too long, what really discouraged me about cooking dinner was the inevitable possiblility that I might even HAVE to go to the store for something I already started cooking – I think every husband has probably had to “run to the store real quick” for something necessary in that night’s dinner (Argh…) Honestly- dinner time is the BUSIEST time at a grocery store. So a quick “in and out” isn’t always the case.
Let’s figure out the problems here-
- I used start dinner around 5:30 – with whatever is available in my kitchen already.
- The occasional “oh sh#t! – HONEY will you please run to the store?? issue.
- Family eats dinner from 6:30ish to 6:45ish and clean up takes about 15 mins usually.
- Bedtime routine means bath, books and in bed which can take at least 45 mins with one two year old and one 4 month old.
- Boys aren’t sleeping until 8:30ish cause everyone knows they never just fall right asleep.
- Mommy and Daddy time can officially start at 8:45pm (maybe an hour before Daddy should get ready for bedtime too).
Adapting a meal planning system into our schedule has completely turned this situation around.
- I pull out any frozen meats needed for dinner out when I am making my coffee in the morning.
- I begin dinner prep around 4:30 now- which means I pull out all the necessary pots/pans, cutting boards and foods that I will be using.
- Around 5pm I begin actually setting up my misenplase (cutting veggies, boiling water, pre-heating the oven)
- Dinner is usually finished cooking by 6 at the latest and we will finished and clean by 6:30.
- Bedtime routine can now officially start at 6:45 – kids in their beds by 7:15 (usually) and hopefully asleep by 7:30-7:45. Boom!
Now we have an extra hour for mommy and daddy time – and that sometimes means two episodes of our favorite netflix show (cause stopping at one can be terribly hard depending on the series…). Totes worth the half-hour (maybe) of time it takes to plan the meals.
If you are interested in how I go about planning out our meals visit this post here! (FREE meal plan printable awaiting you!)