mealtime bootcamp

January 4th, 2013

You guys. I am BUSTING with excitement today!

Remember the lovely Caroline, who did the (probably one and only) sewing DIY guest post here a few months back? We were chatting recently about her family mealtime challenges, and concluded that she is probably not alone, and wouldn’t it be fun to do a series of posts where I (hopefully!) help her overcome some of those struggles?

We say, “YES”!

fresh produce

We started by having this conversation:

Caroline: So Sheri, I have this issue. I can definitely follow directions in the kitchen and pull off most recipes I read, but I often find that I am overwhelmed. After 7 years of being a mom to this crew, I still can’t quite master meal planning. I need your help. Can you point me in the right direction?

Sheri: Why is it that meal planning is always so stressful? Putting food on the table should be relatively easy, yet for most of us “getting there” is a challenge. What would you say are the areas of improvement that you need the most help with? Let’s start with your “top 3-5” and we’ll take it from there!

Caroline: I totally agree, Sheri! I grew up in an Italian American family where food and cooking “with love” was so important. Even admitting that I am struggling has been a challenge! And maybe perhaps because the bar was set so high that I feel like anything I do isn’t good enough? For example, I remember my Papa cooking in the kitchen all day long and the food was always amazing! 

So, that’s just the emotional side of it. The practical side is that I often have trouble with meal planning. But I have noticed when I make this a priority and focus on our food, everyone is so much happier. 

So, if I had to narrow it down I would say here are my top 3 challenges:

1. Meal Planning. You know, I’ve never asked other busy mothers if they really plan the meals or wing it. How far in advance do I need to plan them? Should I add lots and lots of variety or should I just rotate the favorite family meals every few weeks? 

2. I also have trouble with timing. I mean, I tend to always start dinner too late. Are there any tricks that will help me not feel like I am rushing? I know in chatting with you before I’ve heard you reference how you prepare things a little here and there. I’d love to know some of your tips for getting it all pulled together!

3. How much do I prepare for each meal? Do I make just enough for one meal for all of us or cook more than enough for leftovers? I have a friend who cooks for the entire week on Sundays but I wonder what you would think are the pros and cons of this? 

Sheri: These are great goals Caroline! And I think that I can help with all of them. Let’s start with meal planning, as that’s the first step to overcoming all 3 challenges. I’ll come up with a plan of action, and then you can spend a week or two implementing. Sound good?

In the coming weeks we will share with you – on both of our blogs – strategies to help Caroline overcome her struggles and achieve her goals. She’ll then put those plans in motion and report back – hopefully with great success!

We’re also eager, as always, for your input. Specifically, what are your biggest challenges in planning and executing meals for your family? Share them here!

And stay tuned….

For more of Caroline’s thoughts on the subject, read today’s post on her blog!


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