Mealplanning 101: How To Plan Meals

For a little while there last spring and summer, Kelsey and I were doing a really good job taking lunches to work and making quick dinners when we got home and the chaos leading up to bath and bedtime for our toddler really got going. It’s hard enoughto unwind after a long day of work, but when the dog is scratching at the door and the kid is pulling stuff off the walls before you can even figure out if there are any clean wine glasses, you know you’re in for it.

So every weekend, we try to get up early one day and make two lists: one for what meals we want to make for the week and one for what we would need from the grocery store to make it happen. To be honest, it’s kind of a drag to wake up early and do what amounts to homework on the weekend.

But you know what’s worse than mealplanning? Not mealplanning. One of the things that makes picking dinner so difficult is trying to think of a complete option. There are only so many meals that I can think of when I’m hungry, looking at a pile of already dirty dishes, and trying to remember what I know how to make. So instead of trying to come up with a fully formed thought (i.e., chicken and biscuits or chicen cordon bleu), pick a protein you have handy, then a starch that will go with it, and then a vegetable that will add some color to the plate. It’s way easier to go through the process of elimination than to try to cycle through all the recipes you can think of and trying to remember you have in the fridge still.

So meal planning starts with sitting down and writing up your lists. That gets easier once you’ve started establishing your building blocks. Your go tos. The things that you like, you can make relatively easily, and you can

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