By Kara Richardson Whitely
The time that is most dangerous for my healthy-living plans is about 5 p.m.
That’s when our au pair is off-duty and I have three hungry kids looking at me to make dinner, hoping in their sweet little hearts that either a) it will come in the form of a delivery person (preferably carrying pizza or Chinese food) or b) it will involve dessert first.
In the frazzled state where all three are pining for attention — with my 1-year-old son clinging to my leg, my 4-year-old daughter starting a fight with her sister so she can be noticed, or my almost 9-year-old daughter complaining to me that she needs new clothes — I found myself in a dinner rut.
I would make the same things, which often involved meat, sauce, and pasta. There was no room for creativity because dinner was being made in a state of desperation. And, while I don’t like to admit it, I gave in to the pleas for takeout at least once a week. This was problem was not good for my budget or my food plan. Half the time, after sweating through dinner prep, trying to keep my brood happy, the little ones would balk at my meal and wouldn’t eat.
As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. I needed a plan and some help.
I decided I needed a day to plan what we were going to eat that week. No more thinking under fire — when those young hungry minds could sway me. I decided Sunday would be the day that I would sit down and figure out which day we’d eat what.
I got some healthy slow-cooker recipe books from the library. I decided that I would put them out on Sunday morning and the kids could look through them to decide what we would eat. I figured if they were part of the process, then they would like what we made. Of course, there are lots of ideas online, including this yummy Weight Watchers lasagna. But, cooking with the slow cooker meant I could get dinner underway far before things got out of hand with my kiddos.
Part of my problem was that I kept winging it on the grocery front. I would often get the same food each week, just filling the cart with familiarity. That led to the same boring meal possibilities. I needed to change this up so I started using Peapod, a grocery-delivery system, instead. I made my list with the recipe books at my side, even in the middle of the night. I should mention it was also far easier for me to compare prices and use coupons doing it this way.
A little planning meant I could decide how my healthy meals were delivered. I could then deliver on my goals.
Read more Happy Trails.