Meal Planning Made Easy


Meal Planning Made Easy originally ran in February, 2021. We are sharing it again to help make your meal planning resolutions a reality!


the words "meal plan" written with chalk on a small slate on a counter full of vegetables


There was a time when I loved cooking meals— when I got excited about picking out recipes and trying new foods to make. I looked forward to making dinner at night or preparing meals while my son took his daytime nap. There was a time. 


Now, it is exhausting. Thinking about having to feed these people three times EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Managing different allergies and requests only to then be welcomed by the long, arduous task of sitting at a meal where nobody enjoys said food. It is exhausting. It has exhausted me to the point that I have practically given up. It has exhausted me to the point that I have decided it is okay to stick something in the microwave and heat it up. It has become fine to look at my husband and say, “I don’t know what’s for dinner. Don’t we have leftovers?” However, I knew deep down that that is just not me. 
I actually like cooking. I like the preparation. I like planning and trying new recipes. When I heard on a podcast about a different type of meal planning, I got excited. I decided this is it. This is what I need. I set out to do this for the month of January. After one month of preparing meals this way, I can say I am hooked. 
an empty notebook and pen on the counter surrounded by healthy foods for meal planning
Different people may approach this plan in different ways, but I started small. I decided to stick with three meals a week. I would prepare the same three meals for dinner each week for the whole month of January. This did not necessarily mean that every Wednesday night was our Thai Curry night, but more so sometime during each week, I would make the Thai Curry dish. One time each week for the entirety of the month. 
In preparing the same three meals each week, I was able to continue to use ingredients that were not entirely used in one meal. I could also use a consistent grocery list (minus the leftover ingredients) for my weekly grocery trips. This month I picked a Mexican dish, an Asian dish, and a bowl made to each person’s liking. We were able to find three new meals we like as a family, and I added these meals to recipe cards to use later on. 
a family eating a healthy dinner together
This month was a major win for meal planning in our family. We ate three healthy, vegetable-packed meals for dinner throughout the week. I streamlined grocery shopping and the general planning process. Most importantly, I took some of the stress out of the kitchen and enjoyed cooking again. I am eager to continue this habit to find more healthy recipes and love cooking for my family again. 
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Katie is a Des Peres mom of two young boys, Trace (2014) and Henry (2016). Katie stays home with her boys most of the time but also spends a bit of time away as a high school lacrosse coach. Katie enjoys connecting with other moms to run, meet at parks, explore new restaurants, listen to live music and discuss books. Katie and her boys can be found enjoying many activities around St. Louis including the Science Center, Zoo, Magic House, Museum of Transportation, Urban Fort and Frisco Train Store, but what they enjoy most is just being outdoors. They have tried many of the parks around St. Louis City and county and also love hiking trails at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Powder Valley and Shaw Nature Reserve. Katie and her family love all that St. Louis has to offer for families of young children and can most often be found taking advantage of all of the many opportunities.