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Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Am I the Most Disorganized Meal Planner of Them All (Help ME!)

Sous Chef

Sous Chef

If you’re looking for me around 4 or 5 o’clock, don’t look for me in the kitchen (where I should be).  I’m usually out floating around the sea on a surfboard, or taking the kids to the playground or the park or the beach.  Sometime around that time when I *should* have already had dinner prepared, (5 or 6 o’clock), I always come crashing through the front door, dirty, sweaty, hungry and with two cranky kids who desperately need to be showered and fed.  I yell to my husband, who is already exhausted from a long day at work, ‘Can you help me watch them while I make dinner?!?!’  Then, I spend the next half hour or so cooking dinner/refereeing fights/answering a million questions/possibly breastfeeding/most likely tripping over playthings strewn all over the kitchen and for the most part, tearing my hair out and rolling my eyes wondering why this is all so crazy.  I always enjoy being spontaneous, but sometimes my spontaneity gets me into a bit of trouble.

Today, I posted a question on my Katesurfs facebook page, asking other mothers how they avoid the dinnertime melt down.  I was offered some really awesome and practical advice on how other people make it happen.  I have to do a big facepalm here because the advice they were offering was probably something I had learned years ago when I was in high school home economics class.  In high school, I was probably doing everything else (daydreaming about boys, praying for a snowday, planning my escape from small town America) besides paying attention to what the teachers were saying.  I bet my home ec teacher was probably telling us about large batch cooking, meal planning and budget, but I may not have been listening.

I know there is meaning to behind being organised in the kitchen!  We’re vegan, and sometimes vegan cooking requires a little bit of extra planning, for example if you have to soak some beans or something.  So, that’s even more the reason why I should put in a little extra consideration to meal time.  This ayurveda guy told me once that people like me really need to eat a lot of nicely cooked food and my day should revolve around cooking.  I’ll also never forget, when I was in Sicily staying with some of my friend’s family, the woman were in the kitchen ALL day!  ALL day!  Eating was very important to them!

Ok, so some of the awesome recommendations that were suggested were as follows (thank you my awesome facebook friends!)

  • Meal planning is key, aim for planning one or two weeks in advance
  • Large batch cooking for things like sauces and put them in the freezer
  • Buy your veggies first and then fill out your meal plan according to what veggies you have
  • You can ‘Never start cooking dinner too early‘, this one is my favourite.. possibly my new mantra, or maybe, ‘Cook now, so I can surf later
  • Slow cookers, and rice cookers are awesome
  • Set the table first that way everyone thinks dinner is ready and by the time it really is ready, they will all be ready (ugh, how long does it take to get everyone to the table).
  • You can reuse the same meal plan (duh, I should know this being a school teacher)

So, tonight, I complied their advice and in five minutes, I considered what we would eat for dinner, made it early and timed its completion perfectly with my husband’s arrival home from work.  Yes, I totally felt domestically awesome, as in ‘this is soooo how my grandmother would have done things in the 1950’s.’  There was no fussing from the kids, my husband was happy, and I even had time to do the dishes afterwards without having to rush off to do the bed time routine.  Hmmmm… me thinks… there could be something to this.

So, here I’m making my vow be publicly known… That from this day forth, I will put in a little bit of consideration to my meal planning BEFORE the poo hits the fan.  I WILL make a meal plan!  I WILL!  I WILL!  (Ok, please, feel free to bug me in a few weeks to make sure I’m still doing it).  I will be organised!  I think too, if I make a meal plan, then I will end up wasting less food.  Sometimes I regrettably end up throwing away some veggies at the end of the week.  I can’t stand to waste food!

I love to be spontaneous, but I think there is an art form to being spontaneous and organized at the same time, right?  What do you do to make mealtimes happen?  Whether you’re a single person or a family of twenty, everyone has some sort of way they get food on the table.  I would love to hear what you do!

About katesurfs

Living on the Gold Coast of Australia with a toddler and a baby. Writing about my experiences with natural parenting, surfing, vegetarian living, elimination communication, breastfeeding natural remedies, yoga, meditation, Art of Living Foundation and life!

8 responses »

  1. I plan all my meals on Saturdays and then do all my shopping on Sunday. I have many recipes on my blog that you might enjoy! The important thing is being excited about what youre making, so you dont skip out last minute 🙂

  2. Your post made me laugh. I’m often chomping at the bit because I’ve left it too late and everyone’s losing the plot! I do my best to get cooking by 4pm, but that often clashes with Joshi just wanting to GET OUT!!!

    Anyway, I agree that you can’t really start preparing dinner to early – it makes a huge difference if I start dinner around 3pm, but that’s often when I’m doing kriya and meditation, so preparing dinner gets pushed to later.

    I’ve read about mums who cook large batches of food at the beginning of the week and then freeze it. I can’t get my head around the thought of eating frozen meals that have been reheated. It really doesn’t appeal to me, mostly coz frozen, reheated foods don’t have any prana. Of course eating freshly made food requires heaps more effort and planning, but for me it’s worth it.

    Large batch cooking for sauces – that’s a possibility, but what kind of sauces are you thinking of?

    Meal planning sounds so sensible … and I did try it once, but I just got sooooo bored of it and I often didn’t feel like eating what was planned and ended up making something else and not using the food that was bought for the planned meals, which meant wasting food. It wasn’t very successful. 😦

    • Meggan, I used to be a prana snob, just like you! Haha! I still sort of am. But, I’m starting to realise that sometimes I don’t eat properly, so it’s better to eat leftovers and something frozen than nothing at all or worse than that, I will start shoveling junk down. That same ayurveda guy was so funny, he was the one who actually recommended that I eat leftovers, and told me to get over the prana thing because he said that I had to just eat something! He was so right. I mean, of course, fresh is best, I don’t like eating leftovers… but given the alternative of passing out from not eating. I think frozen is at least better than fridge. At least in the freezer, the enzymes and nutrients are kept fresh and will not deteriorate.

      • Yes, it’s all relative hey. Just to clear any possible misinterpretation – although I’m a prana snob (and yes, I am! I’m the first to admit it) I do eat leftovers. I never used to, but when I became I mum that changed. I do my best not to eat leftovers often but it’s hugely preferable to eating junk or nothing or some dodgy takeaway, for sure! xx

      • It’s pretty hard with a toddler… I realised that today while Goldie was napping and it was just Margo and I making food in the kitchen. It was so sane and quiet and she was helping me cook and chop veggies… AND THEN… the little one woke up and it was all chaos! Haha! Oh, they are so cute, but they are a handful!

  3. You have basically described me at dinner time, kids and all 🙂 thanks for the tips!!


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