Has this ever happened to you? It’s 4:30 p.m. and you have been busy all day. Whether you work outside your home, or are a stay-at-home mom like I am, it seems as though sometimes the day just slips away. Before I know it, the clock shows 4:30 p.m. and things can quickly fall apart.
This is often the time that my seven, nine, and twelves year olds are running around the house playing Nerf, and the older boys are off somewhere staying out of the melee. My second daughter may or may not be home because she is a full-time college student who comes and goes as her schedule dictates. Such is my life many days at 4:30 p.m. I’m sure that many of you have experienced similar circumstances.
What’s a person to do? In my obese days, with only three children, my response to a harried time like that would have been to either call John and tell him to bring home as much McDonald’s as we could afford right then, or load all the kids up into the car to meet John at a restaurant.
I may have had a vague idea of what we were having for dinner back then, but not enough of an idea to actually feel like I could prepare the meal amidst the craziness. So I didn’t try and we ate very unhealthy restaurant foods – all the time.
As I began losing weight, we went out to dinner more often than we do now, but they were planned outings. What changed? I changed the way I planned and prepared for the evening meals.
Instead of having a vague idea of what we were having for dinner I had a definite plan. I didn’t always stick to what I had written down for every night of the week, sometimes we had Monday’s meal on Wednesday and Friday’s meal on Tuesday. *gasp* But I did stick to our planned meals for the most part. And it made a huge difference.
I diligently planned meals. Sometimes I used a scrap piece of paper and other times I used a spreadsheet that I linked to recipes I had stored on my computer. Here is a site with some good meal planning worksheet options. It didn’t matter what I used, what was important was that I planned the meals.
Once I had the meals planned, I shopped, and did some prep work. This may sound basic to those of you who already do this, but for me, this was a huge step forward.
I would do simple prep work like:
- chopping veggies
- pre-cooking and freezing meats that I would use for soups or casseroles
- making breads and muffins in advance and freezing the extra
- making large batches of vegetarian spaghetti sauce and freezing it in smaller containers
- cooking double portions
The time I spent prepping really helped me stay on top of our meals, saved us money, and assisted me in my weight loss efforts. Gone were the days of not having any idea what was for dinner, instead to be replaced by a plan that actually worked for us. How about you? How do you think planning in advance helps you in your journey to get healthier? Diane