Houses & Homes: 4 reasons why your meal planning efforts aren't panning out!

When I speak about meal planning, I’m usually greeted with one of two reactions. The first, when I’m speaking to a group of already converted to the practice: ‘’Meal planning is essential! Our family wouldn’t survive without it. We gain peace of mind, we decrease our mental load, we gain back time and eat healthier.’’

The second reaction however goes a bit like this: ‘’Meal planning isn’t for us, it doesn’t work for our family. I’ve tried before and it never lasts. When I plan, I end up not even wanting to eat what is on the menu. I’d rather eat what I feel like eating.’’

Does this ring a bell? Do you recognize yourself here?

If I think of my time in-home with clients, and of my experiences with clients in my online course on meal preparation, four challenges come to mind in terms of what derails meal planning:

The family’s schedule and/or our professional commitments aren’t taken into consideration. Pardon the expression, but the proverbial cart is often put before the horse when it comes time to meal plan. We think of what we’d like to eat or ask our family members what they’d like to have for supper before even thinking of what is on the agenda both at home and at work.

In reality, once the moment comes to meal plan, one should really take a look at the agenda and choose a meal that corresponds with what’s in store for us that night. Late meeting at work or taxi duty for the kids’ activities? An easy meal should be chosen. Feeling like testing out a new recipe? Pick a weekend night to give yourself the latitude necessary, should the recipe take longer to prepare than what is expected!

Pro tip: To have a global view of what’s in stock for the week, I highly recommend using a family organization app such as Cozi, and synchronizing it with your professional electronic agenda. That way you’ll only have to look for the information in one place and have information accessible to anyone in your family.

Too many choices for recipe ideas!

There must be stats somewhere that confirm my theory that never before have we had so many options and ideas on what to plan for supper!

Bookstores are overflowing with titles.

Magazines kiosks keep adding options to the mix.

Pinterest boards are constantly growing with new pins of what that perfect version of us should make for her family.

We often share our newly tested and approved recipes via email and text messages.

No wonder planning is complicated, we don’t even know where to turn to with all that choice and all those places. As with most things ‘’Organizing’’, we often need to come back to finding one place for everything and putting everything in its place.

Mylène Houle Morency is a professional organizer, speaker and owner of FLO Organisation, which specializes in organizing families with children ranging from newborn to the teenage years. She has the firm conviction that organized homes help parents become the parents they want to be, by freeing up time and diminishing stress. She has the privilege to lovingly test all her theories and organization inspirations on her husband and three children!

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