With so many things on the go, the last thing I want to stress over is food. I’ve always meal-planned, but lately, the process has been fine tuned and everything seems to go quite smoothly. My process starts on a Wednesday when my favourite flyer app, Flipp, comes out with next week’s flyers for our closest grocery store. I plan the menu for the week, sometimes based on sales and other times just using the flyer for inspiration. After menu planning comes the store visit on a Saturday morning. If you go early enough, no one is there and it’s a pleasant walk through produce and meat. Sometimes, I’m even lucky enough to wrangle an older daughter to come with me for the trip. Most times, I go at it alone and I find it relaxing. The funny thing is, no matter how many things I have to get or whoever comes with me, it’s usually an hour trip. Going alone is easier though because then I’m not entertaining Baby C or convincing my girls that zucchini really is as delicious as its cousin, the cucumber.
Sundays are meal prep days. Although it doesn’t take a full day, it does take a busy three to four hours depending on how much chopping is involved. A typical menu for the week may consist of using my Instant Pot at least once, some stir fry, and perhaps, something going in the oven. I also try to plan healthy breakfasts to go for four of us (Baby C eats at daycare) and also snacks and lunches.
When I was on maternity leave, every night we had a different meal. Oh, how spoiled they were! LOL. Now, I will often double Sunday’s meal and Tuesday’s meals. Even though Hip Teacher Dada and I finish early at work, we don’t leave right away. From coaching to planning and marking to the gym, we don’t usually get home until around 5:30 p.m. Having something ready to heat up is much easier than doing an hour of cooking every night.
This is our menu for the week:
Girls’ Breakfast: fruit and yogurt parfait (granola sprinkled in the morning)
Parents’ Breakfast: chia seed pudding with fruit (granola sprinkled in the morning)
Girls’ Lunch: cheese, pita, veggie sticks and chicken drumsticks
Parents’ Lunch: salad with berries, chicken, and egg
Dinner: shepherd’s pie and broccoli, honey garlic drumsticks with rice and mixed veg (roasted mushroom, onion, peppers, and carrots), omelette with toast and asparagus
Snacks: fruit cups with apple, pear, strawberries, and cherries, veggie sticks with dip, and carrot muffins
As you see, the menu is simple and healthy. On the weekends, we usually eat out, grab take-out, or have events with family and friends. I’ll do a more substantial breakfast on weekends like crepes or waffles. I will try to avoid making Sunday plans because I know being home sets up the rest of the week for success. I try to mix up my protein so that no one gets bored of the menu and in the summer, we will barbecue. Last week, we had shrimp wraps, chicken alfredo, and homemade chicken fingers. Making up dinner menus is fun and often, Facebook feeds and cooking shows serve as inspiration. Sometimes I just ask the girls what they want and we’ll just go with that. Chatting about food with friends is also a regular thing so sometimes I get cravings so my menu is already done.
What about you? Do you meal plan and prep on Sunday? Any special tips to share?