Monday, March 8, 2010
I've had several friends say to me..."It's not so much that I hate cooking, it's that I hate thinking about cooking all the time. I hate the time of day when I have to think 'what's for dinner?'. It's just so stressful." and I've had other friends say to me..."I hate cooking...let alone having to think of things to cook every day!!"
(photo from google images)
So if this picture looks like you...searching through a cook book for dinner idea's, trying not to pull your hair out...then this post is for you! I'm hoping to give you some tips that will maybe help ease the stress of daily food preparation?
The first tip is simple, and I promise if you'll do it...it will change the way you think about meal time. The key is planning ahead. Take some time, like 1 hour at the most, each week to sit down and plan out your meals for the upcoming week. I usually get groceries on Friday, so Thursday night after "r" goes to bed and while my husband and I are watching TV, I plan our meals. Doing this allows me to get my husbands input. This is also a time for my husband and I to coordinate our schedules and communicate with each other about what we each have going on. To do this planning I use a simple spread sheet you can download here. If it's overwhelming to plan every single meal at first, start with just dinner. Most people eat pretty much the same things for breakfast's and lunches anyway, and dinner seems to be the most stressful. Planning out your meals will also make grocery shopping much easier. You'll know what your cooking, you'll get what you need, and you'll eliminate excess impulse buying.
My second tip I've blogged about before. It's the "go to dinner list". Everyone should have one. I won't go into too much detail, you can click here to read my previous post. But this list is a lifesaver. When you brain is fried and you just can't think, pull out the list and find all your families favorite meals to choose from.
This third tip is is where I sometimes loose people, but I promise if you do it your week will go so much smoother. After I get groceries, I look at my dinner list and I try to do as much pre-prep for the week as possible. For instance, if veggies need to be chopped or if I need shredded chicken cooked, cheese grated etc... Anything that could possibly be done ahead of time I try to do over the weekend, when my husband is home to keep "r" out of my hair.
And last but not least...Post your weekly meal plan where your entire family can see it, especially you! I keep mine on the refrigerator. When I'm getting breakfast, I glance at it and remind myself what's for dinner that night. Then I know what I need to do throughout the day to prepare. Like take meat out of the freezer to defrost, put something in the crockpot etc...
These tips aren't anything special and they're certainly not rocket science, but they work. As mom's meal preparation has been something we've automatically been assigned, whether we like it or not. If you have husbands that have taken over this role, that's awesome! Or even if you have husbands that share in the task! Wonderful! But if you don't like to cook, and you find yourself stuck with this role, and you're completely stressed out, give this method a try and tell me if it doesn't help! I'd love to hear your feed back, or what tips you've found to help ease the stress of meal preparation in your house.