I've gone through both myself. When there was just two or three of us it was easy to get away with no planning. As our family has grown, it's become more important to have at least some kind of plan, even if it's just in my head. Right after Will (our oldest) was born, we actually did eMeals for a while. That made things a lot simpler during a time of big adjustments in our lives. It gave us a plan for the week, a shopping list, and recipes. Shawn could do the grocery shopping and occasionally cook the meal himself. It wasn't the healthiest choice (the basic plan we chose at the time had a lot of starches and I remember some "cream of" canned soups as ingredients) but I'm glad to see that now they offer more options to choose from according to your personal dietary needs. As we adjusted to life with a little one we stopped eMeals cause I could juggle the planning myself and we needed that money.
For a time, I could decide on about 17 meals (we're talking supper) and make a shopping list from that. Along with leftovers, meals with family, and eating out, that would get us through a month for the most part. As our family has grown though, it's become more difficult, and I've felt more of a need to plan lunch as there's not always enough leftovers for everyone. Of course, budget has become more of a concern as well, now that we're feeding a family of 5.
Naturally, instead of adjusting and planning accordingly, I gave up planning altogether. Opting instead to buy a bunch of stuff and throwing something together last minute. Smart choice, I know.
|Rachael Ray's Week in a Day|
Now that I'm training for a marathon, it's become increasingly apparent that the extra time spent on planning would save me a lot of time, stress, and trouble later on. Marathon training gives me less time, less energy, and more hunger. I'd actually love to be able to not only plan, but prep a week's worth of meals at a time, so when we're ready to eat all that has to be done is reheating or putting something in the oven. I have Rachael Ray's book, Week in a Day, that is intended to be used this way, but haven't actually used it yet even though I've had it since it came out (over two years ago, embarrassing...). I'm kind of afraid it may break my budget. I really don't want to spend the time going through and figuring out how much a week of the book would cost and then not following through with it after deciding it was too much. I think I'd rather just try it for a week and see how it goes. If that week totally blows the budget then we'll just have to eat Ramen and PB&Js the rest of the month. Neither of which I eat myself, ha.
|eMeals has so many options now I'm not even sure which to choose|
I've even toyed with the thought of doing eMeals again, now that they have a greater variety of plans, but of course the cost is a concern. There are free meal plans out there, but do I want to spend the time looking for one that works for my family when it would take me less time to just make one myself than doing all the research (maximizer here!) Ugh. Of course I'm writing all this on a day when I desperately need to go grocery shopping.
So tell me, how do you do it?