I used to love cooking on the weekends and spending a few hours experimenting with new recipes and stocking the fridge for the week. Using my hands and focusing on the labor of making food was therapeutic.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped. It coincided with my kids getting older and being able to express their opinions about food loudly and clearly i.e. I don’t want to eat that Mommy. There was a big part of me that didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking food that I knew would be rejected at the dinner table. So I stopped.
About two weeks ago, I decided to prep some food over the weekend. I’m not sure what exactly prompted me. It may have been the fact that we just got home from California and I faced an empty refrigerator. I spent about 3 hours in the kitchen and ended up with apple oat muffins, spinach soup, granola, frozen yogurt bites, sweet potato black bean burgers, quinoa, rice and roasted vegetables.
The other crazy thing? I have actually been menu planning for the past few weeks. I NEVER menu plan. It always seems like so much work. I intend to – usually planning it in my head while grocery shopping over the weekend – but things always come up and we never stick to the menu. Or my husband may decide to cook dinner not realizing that I already had something planned.
Prepping food on the weekend and menu planning has made a huge difference in our house. Having healthy food readily available means that I actually eat a healthy lunch and snacks instead of resorting to the same 2-3 things all the time. I’ve been eating a wider variety of food and eating a good amount of vegetables too (which always seems to be a challenge for me). It means that I get to eat yummy things like quinoa kale avocado salad and salmon with kale and edamame.
Menu planning means that dinner time runs MUCH smoother. Instead of scrambling to figure out what to put on the table at the last minute, my husband and I are both clear about what’s for dinner. It also means that I get to try out new recipes and have fun in the kitchen again. I’ve missed that.
I realized with both food prep and menu planning, I was making it seem like a much bigger deal than it really was. I didn’t need to prep a whole month’s worth of food – just a few things and some quick snacks to get me through the week. I didn’t need to plan a full week’s menu to perfection. I started with planning just three days, figuring that I would have leftovers and we’d probably go out to dinner one night.
If you’re looking for some ideas or a place to start, these ladies have been huge inspirations for me. Every Sunday, Lindsay highlights some of the awesome food that her readers have been prepping over the weekends. Laura and Jill host a menu planning link-up every Sunday. It’s a great place to get some ideas and see how others manage their menu for the week.
Here’s my plan for this week:
Sunday: Mushroom Tart
Monday: Leftovers of Spinach and Cannellini Bean Pasta Bake which I made on Saturday
Wednesday: Salmon Burgers
Thursday: Soy-glazed salmon and warm quinoa shiitake spinach
Saturday: Pumpkin Spinach Bean Quesadilla
Do you prep food on the weekends? Do you menu plan?
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