HI! I hate cooking. With a passion. I also hate eating out with three small kids. What's a gal to do? Obviously spend hours looking at Pinterest for delicious, easy meals that the mini humans will actually consume.
As much as I would love to lie to you all and say that my kids, the offspring of a trainer and borderline obsessively healthy eater, love to eat all sorts of vegetables and whole grain foods, I'm not going to do that. My kids are like the vast majority of other preschoolers out there, their main food groups are: Macaroni and Cheese (obviously from a box, not from scratch), cheese quesadillas, chicken nuggets (also preferably from a box, not homemade), PB&J, and anything with frosting. In an effort to not feed them highly processed crap all the time, I'm trying to plan meals a week in advance.
The planning of meals is so simple, right? Pick something that sounds good, save the recipe, go to the store, cook the meal, force kids to eat it by any means possible. I love the way things work in my mind...so easy and always go exactly according to plan...unfortunately, there is the real world. And in the real world, meal planning effing SUCKS.
It usually goes something like this: write it all out, smile smuggly whilst mentally judging those who eat out for every meal. Go to the store on Monday with just one child, begin prepping the first day's meal (still being a smug douche), pick up the older two from preschool, (still douchey) get home, do the mom thing for a few hours, end up making about half of the original plan for dinner. Kids complain about it being "ewww," husband ate a late lunch, I'd rather eat a bowl of cereal, so something that sounded lovely ends up congealed in a pot on the stove. The smugness is starting to wean at this point. Go to bed for the night, then wake up to Tuesday. The thought of actually cooking now seems awful. Quesadillas for dinner. Wednesday brings about some sort of pasta. Thursday night? Oh..crap. They need to eat AGAIN. Probably something quick, like a rotisserie chicken. Friday. Hopefully the husband can throw something together because I'm tapping out. Saturday and Sunday.....whatever is in the fridge...usually one of these days is Mac and Cheese.
By Sunday mid-day I am so ready to get my family back on track (as I'm writing this, I realize there was never a track for them to be on) that I sit down to scour in the Interwebs and find meals that are preschooler-friendly, healthy, vegetarian (or have an easy way to be vegetarian before the meat gets added in) and few ingredients. As I pin recipe after recipe, the smugness sets in again. It is a terrible cycle.
Today, I'm going to try and end the cycle. I'm going to do a menu plan for the week AND STICK TO IT. I've created a ridiculously simple menu plan template that I'm going to fill out AND STICK TO IT. If I end up making it through the week, I'm going to by myself something pretty...probably takeout. If I can go the whole week without making the little darlings Mac and Cheese...I'm going to throw myself a little party...for one...because after becoming a mom, parties of one are the best kind.
Here is the template for you all. I welcome you to use it and join me in planning a week of meals and sticking to it. Oh, and for clarification, by "meals" I mean dinners. Baby steps. Maybe in a month I'll plan breakfasts and dinners. Then add in lunches. WHY DO KIDS NEED TO EAT SO OFTEN!!?!?!!?!