What is the purpose of mealtime management?
(Would you rather listen? Check out this episode on the Supermom School Podcast)
The whole purpose behind this series is to first gain a fresh perspective about menu planning that feels easy.
How many of you would love menu planning to be easier?
I’m raising my hand with you- we want it to be easy, and light, and doable.
Ideally, at the end of this series, you will walk away with somewhere between 2 weeks and a month of menus that you LIKE, that you want to make, and that work for your family.
You will also get grocery list help and learn how to not get overwhelmed.
I want to give you as many cheat sheets as possible to make this whole process easier!
There are many different seasons in your life when it comes to meal planning, but I assure you there is a mealtime management strategy for all of them.
You know a lot of the strategies already, you’ve looked at a bunch of them, but you are still not doing them.
The problem is your thoughts are starving you out.
What are your most unhelpful thoughts?
Negative thoughts like:
- Meal planning is just too hard- it takes SO MUCH TIME.
- I can either get to the store, or make the menu, but I can’t do both.
- Finding things people like is too complicated.
- I have too many dietary issues to deal with.
Here are some of the thoughts that people shared with me; when I asked about this:
- “I really struggle with meal planning, I feel stuck in a rut”
- “I hate planning a menu and making a list, the rest isn’t a big deal”
- “Our extracurricular activities make it difficult”
- “Our nights are too busy”
- “Coming up with something night after night is hard. I get so tired of cooking, and I don’t like being the only person to make decisions”
- “I have too many other things that need to be done”
- “My family is too picky”
- “I don’t always feel like making what I planned on the menu”
But here is the thing, if we are focused on why it is hard, why it’s negative, why we don’t like it, why we can’t do it, why we shouldn’t have to do it– how much energy is left to actually DO the thing?
You have no energy left to do it because you have all these negative thoughts around it. It makes us feel gross, and when we feel gross we avoid it.
We have to start by looking at the thoughts you are having and realize they are unhelpful. They are actually not just a thought over there, but it is actually CREATING the problem- it is making it bigger than it has to be.
We have to take those thoughts captive, and turn them around.
Let’s start looking at the truth:
1. We have to stop comparing with each other – you know this, you have heard this before. If you have little kids, and you are looking on at me thinking “I have little kids, and I can’t delegate and walk away – of course, it’s easy for her.” Well, no it isn’t. It is just a different set of things that I am working on then you are working on. Everyone has their own circumstances, and you have to find what works for you.
For the recod this can include:
- Ordering pizza
- Feeding your children cereal at night
- Fend for yourself night
- Leftover night
- Breakfast for dinner
What if there is no wrong way to do this? This is the truth. These choices are not wrong choices, what it is is that you chose something else as the higher priority that day. It is OKAY if a 4-course meal is not the priority, or even a main dish and a salad. This is not the end goal. The object of this whole strategy is to get people fed. That is it. The object of meal planning is to get your family fed. We want to do this in a healthy way, and we want to do it with love, and with joy.
Interestingly enough- I don’t know how many of you are aware, but when you sit down at the table and take the time to connect and be grateful for your food, and thank God for it. Your body actually responds differently to your food. Your body receives it more effectively, then if you are feeling guilt about what you are putting in front of your family, or you feel rushed, or eating it with frustration or discouragement or shame. Whatever you put in front of you- eat it with joy.
2. We have too many options – meal planning in itself is a first-world problem. If you are in a third-world country- you don’t have to meal plan. It’s rice. You’ll have rice for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. I mean you can sit down with a meal plan, but the truth of the matter is- it’s going to be rice. It is important to recognize that the fact that you are struggling with meal planning is actually a sign of joy. It is a sign of bountiful abundance.
But what ends up happening is that we have so many options we are wearing our brains out. Our brains have a limited capacity to make decisions. You have the most ability earlier in the day. By the end of the day, you have run out of decision-making abilities. It is a legitimate issue that when you get to the end of the day, you just don’t have the capability to make any more decisions. You used up your decision-making earlier in the day.
If the problem is that there are too many options, if you can minimize the decision-making process- you will have more success. What we need to look for is: consistency, things that are repeatable, and actually limit the choices that we give ourselves to make. It is a lot easier to have a couple of choices than all of them. This or that is a pretty simple decision.
New thoughts that will help you:
1. Menu planning is no big deal – this might not actually feel true right now. But try it out. These are thoughts that I want you to try. The more you can practice these new thoughts, the more they will actually feel true.
2. Planning menus helps everyone be more successful – part of the planning of menus is that we want to help our family help us. You are the only one who has the capability to look inside your brain. So if you can write it down and put it in a place where people can see it- it helps your family help you.
3. What if it gets to be easy – What if this gets to be easy? If it gets to be easy then new possibilities exist. What if you could just throw something in the oven? What if we just choose nachos for dinner? What if we just all work on it together? What if we have dinner late? Do you see how when you ask what if it gets to be easy- new possibilities open. There are no wrong choices.
If you can’t do anything else with your meals, I promise you your mindset and thoughts are the most important thing. If you can take these mindset shifts, you can make almost any strategy work- if you just have the right thoughts around it. Don’t let your thoughts starve you. Choose to let it be easy.
Mealtime Management is a three-part series designed to help you thrive in your meal planning strategies. Be sure to read all three articles to get the best tools for your Mealtime Management, and don’t forget to grab your Mealtime Management Tool Kit!
If you are loving this article, and this type of advice I encourage you to check out Supermom School! We are entering enrollment season for a new year- where we get together as a group and enjoy working through different strategies to love God, love others, enjoy life, and do it with accountability and a whole lot of fun. I would love for you to join us! Enrollment is June and July and there are some great bonuses if you sign up early.