Raise your hand if this sounds like you on a typical day: it’s 5 p.m. and your spouse calls and asks, “what’s for dinner?” and you reply “…(long silence) chicken!” and then you frantically go to defrost said chicken and pull everything out of your pantry to make it as exciting of a meal as possible.
Or run to the grocery store to get everything you need, including that chicken.
Or run out for sweet and sour chicken at your favorite last-minute take-out place.
Or you ask your spouse to pick up sweet and sour chicken on the way home.
Well this week is all about ending that cycle. Yes, actually make and eat what you planned in your weekly meal plan. We promise, you can do it!
This week we are challenging you to make a meal plan and stick to it as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
While it sounds daunting to plan out your entire week of meals in advance (I mean will you really want that shrimp dish on Thursday night?) – it seriously helps simplify life.
It gives you time to focus on work or volunteering or your kids every day instead of dreading going to the store or thinking what you can pick up on your way home from work. It also can save you money so that you can pay yourself or pay down that debt.
Week 16 Challenge: Make a Weekly Meal Plan and Plan to Follow It
Challenge Details: This week is all about making a dinner meal plan for the entire week and sticking to it. This means sitting down at the beginning of the week, picking out what you’re going to make, making that grocery list, grocery shopping and cooking those delicious meals.
Your deadline: April 25
Bonus points if you meal plan your other meals for the week. Yes we’re talking about breakfast and lunch. And be sure to take a photo and tag us on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #Make2016YourBitch.
Here are 5 tips to help you make that meal plan and stick to it.
1. Write down your meal plan and post it on your fridge. This will help you plot out what nights you are eating what and create your grocery shopping list. Write down what you’ll make each night, where you found that recipe and use the space at the bottom to make your grocery list.
Pro tip: an acceptable meal is leftovers (see #5). Also, if you have any plans during the week to eat out, like a unit function or school fundraiser, write that in so you know you have a dinner plan.
2. Pinterest is your friend. So are all of those cookbooks you never crack open. If you’re anything like me you find soooo many amazing recipes on Pinterest and then they sit there in Pinterest purgatory. So inspiring, so delicious looking, but you have no idea how it really tastes.
Start with your Pinterest boards (or search the NextGen Nomables board) as you search for meal options for the week. Pick out a few recipes that you really want to try and write them out!
Then remember cookbooks? Yeah, those things with paper collecting dust somewhere in your house. Pull those out! Find some old favorites or some new inspirations.
Pro tip: when looking at recipes, do make sure that the time needed to prep and cook is doable for your schedule (so maybe don’t try that Beef Wellington recipe unless you have all day).
3. Plan a slow cooker meal and prep for it the night before. Nothing is worse than chopping onions as you eat breakfast and drink your coffee in a rush before heading out the door for the day.
I always forget to cut everything up the night before making a slow cooker meal but it makes your life so much better when you do. Trust me. I’ve done it once or twice and it’s life-changing.
That way in the morning you dump everything in and hit start. And no matter what – the beauty of the slow cooker is that once you get the chopping done and hit start on the machine, you’re golden.
No more work, just wait.
And your house will smell amazing when you walk in the door at the end of a long work day.
4. Plan for a cheat night. I know, I know, you don’t want to cheat but life happens and it’s OK. So when you’re making that grocery list, add your favorite frozen meal (my go-to is pizza) and buy it.
That way, when traffic is the worst or you get sick or the kids tell you they have a giant event right now that ruins your cooking plans, you can pop that frozen meal in the oven and have dinner.
5. Make meals that will result in leftovers. Cook every single night? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Leftovers are your friend, my friend.
I like to plan a meal that will last 2 nights so that I just have to reheat something the next day. If you do want to cook something new every night, leftovers make great lunch.
Either way – the more food the merrier!