When I started this website, I got this question A LOT.
"But, why menu planning?"
And I actually still get this question, so I thought what better way to answer.....than in a blog post.
Menu planning has always been a part of the way I cook.
But waaaaay back when my kids were little, I never did it regularly.
I'd have weeks where I'd be really on top of it. And weeks....or months....where I'd fall completely off the rails.
When I wasn't menu planning I'd always have an excuse.
I'm just way too busy.
I have absolutely no time.
Are you kidding me? I've got too much on my plate already!
That's how I'd rationalize another trip through the drive thru, or the 5 o'clock sprint through the grocery store. I'd say to myself "It's fine. You can start menu planning again next week."
And then the next week came.
And the next.
But then there came a week where everything changed.
And I knew menu planning would need to happen every week.
A few years ago, my husband had a health scare.
Before you read anymore, please know he is just fine and perfectly healthy now.
But back then, it was terrifying. In the space of just a few days there were doctor's visits, MRIs, CT scans and other tests. And at the same time, his doctor told him he would need to lose weight.
And keep it off.
Before that week, my husband had struggled with his weight for a long time. For most of our marriage, in fact. One of the biggest factors in his struggle was all the travel he did for work. He traveled hundreds of thousands of miles a year and all the restaurant eating and airplane food took their toll. The dinners would run late, the meetings would start early, and there was never time for him to eat anything remotely healthy.
And when he was home, I wasn't great at planning out meals on a regular basis. Which meant there were lots quick pasta dinners, or grilled cheese or quesadillas.
Yes, we absolutely loved our carbs.
After that week, everything changed.
We needed to be better about eating healthy, about making healthy choices. I've always been the one to cook dinner (unless we're grillin' in the summer, than I hand the tongs over to my hubby), so I knew I needed to be much much better about cooking healthy. I needed a plan. A plan I could actually stick with. And when I looked back at the times I did plan out our meals for the week, there was absolutely no question at all that we ate healthier. Planning out meals meant I wasn't digging around in the fridge and pantry frantically searching for something to make. I wasn't running to the store at 5 o'clock and tossing a bunch of" whatever I could grab the fastest" into my cart. The shopping was done, everything was in the fridge or pantry, and I knew exactly what I was cooking.
So I got serious about menu planning every single week.
And it changed the way I cook. I cook healthier because I take the time every week to figure out what I'm cooking for dinner. I sit down with my calendar, and a very large cup of coffee, and plot out the nights I need to make dinner. Now, I'm more mindful about what to cook because I'm taking the time to plan to cook.
I also make things ahead of time, because I know what I'm making. Salad dressings, marinades, sauces all get made a few days before which saves me a ton of time.
Of course, there are still nights we order pizza. But I make sure my husband has a hearty salad full of grains and veggies.
And there are absolutely nights I make pasta for our kids. But I'll make my husband roasted spaghetti squash to go with his marinara sauce.
And with the menu planning, and making healthier eating decisions, my husband lost 50 pounds and it's stayed off.
Now, I'm absolutely not a dietician, or doctor, so I'm not saying menu planning is a way to lose weight. You need to consult your own doctor for the right plan for you.
And speaking of diets for a quick sec, I actually don't believe in diets at all. You won't find any specific diets on my website at all.
Instead of diets, I believe in lifestyle change.
And menu planning is part of a lifestyle change that paves the way to making healthier choices.
So there you have it, my friend.
That's my story.
That's my "why."
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Until next time....