Meal planning. Some people hate it and other people... hate it? Just kidding. My sister loves to meal plan and I am encouraged by those who enjoy the process. I can honestly say that while meal planning is still not my favorite activity, I enjoy it more now. I attribute this change to a shift in my mindset toward meal planning.
Whether you have a love/hate or hate/hate relationship with meal planning, I hope this post will encourage you to consider the mindset you have surrounding meal planning. I have found that my mindset determines whether I succeed or fail to follow my plan through out the week.
What is the purpose of meal planning?
It exists to bring order to what we will eat through out the week. Meal planning exists to help us. However, for years, I felt like meal planning existed to torture me. After diligently creating a meal plan but before I even went grocery shopping, I looked at the plan resentfully. I would edit it through out the week, omit meals and add new ones while generally avoiding the plan. This resulted in bizarre meals, wasted ingredients, buying more groceries than I needed and overall chaos.
I wish I could show you the number of notes in my phone and lists in various places reminding me why sticking to a meal plan is a good idea: it is healthier than eating out, it saves us money, it provides us a plan for our family dinners, it allows for dietary needs, it contributes to the order and peace in our home, etc.
I didn't need to be convinced about the benefits of meal planning. I meal planned every week and I was convicted about filling out a meal plan. However, ultimately, I wasn't convicted that sticking to the meal plan was worthwhile and necessary.
To be fair, I had proven to myself every week I didn't have to stick to the meal plan. I would scavenge through the pantry and refrigerator before dinner to haphazardly throw a meal together (not on the meal plan) because the meal I had planned "didn't sound good" or I had forgotten to defrost meat. On another night, I would ask my husband to pick something up from the grocery store or restaurant on his way home from work. My meal plan was doomed to fail because I had given myself permission to stray from the plan despite the cost to our health, budget and order in the home.
This was a mindset issue.
I needed to tell myself that straying from the meal plan wasn't an option. It required diligence and steadfast commitment to the plan especially at the end of the day when I wanted to bail and send my husband an SOS at 4:30pm.
I found that by changing my mindset, I was more willing to tackle the task at hand when it came to preparing the meal. I was more willing to take one step, then another, and another until dinner was ready. Even if I wasn't thrilled about what we were having for dinner, I was proud of myself for powering through the resistance I had previously given into and it got easier every day.
When I quit trying to fight the meal plan I had created for our family and I shifted my mindset, I was finally ready to address other meal planning mistakes. Continue reading in Part II: Are you making these meal planning mistakes?
This is Day 13 of 31 Days of Striving for Progress over Perfection.(Photo by Alyssa Ledesma on Unsplash)