Meal Planning Tip #2-Meal Journals

Meal Planning can be a scary thought. What is the best way? How do I get started? Do I have to find new recipes? It does not have to be so scary if you just take it one step at a time and follow our simple tips.

A Meal Journal is a great way to get started. Your journal can be a spiral notebook, a store bought planner, or scratch paper in a binder.  Your journal will evolve as we go through all of our meal planning tips over the next few weeks so don’t worry about creating the perfect layout.

The first step for your meal planning journal is to record the meals you are already eating, and that your family enjoys. Take 20-30 minutes to sit down and write any meals that you can recall from the last few weeks. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks if possible. If you are feeling ambitious you can even sort them (more on sorting later). It is ok if you can’t remember all of your meals, don’t stress about it. You will continue to log meals your family eats over the next couple weeks to add to your meal library. If you come across any new recipes that you would like to try , jot them down on their own page.

The meals that you are recording will become your base for planning your future meals. You will, of course, add new things and maybe remove others as you go through your meal planning journey, but a good base will make your planning easier. Why plan a week of brand new things and over stress yourself, when you have tried and true favorites on standby? Sorting your meals will be a big help for future planning as well. You can sort in columns, on different pages, or just as a code letter to each item (B=Breakfast, S=snacks/sides, etc.). There are many categories you can sort by, some options are: cooking style (slow cooker, stove, oven, and grill), base ingredient (chicken, beef, pork, and pasta), Prep/cooking time (quick meals, 1-2 hr meals, all day meals). Sort by whatever you feel is going to work best for you.

That wasn’t so bad right? You are well on your way to becoming an expert meal planner. Keep your journal handy and keep recording your meal options and you will be all set for our next tip: Starting your meal calendar.

Meal Planning – Tip 1 ~ Freezer Meals

Meal Planning – Tip 1 ~ Freezer Meals

I love anything and everything that makes dinner time easy. With three little loves and another one on the way, I just do not have hours to spend in the kitchen. But making healthy real food from scratch is a huge priority to me. I would cringe every time my husband would call me to ask “What’s for dinner?”, often times I was silently asking myself the same question. Since he doesn’t cook, I knew I couldn’t count on him to quickly whip something up for our family to eat. Granted, he can make some good scrambled eggs now, and I will even eat them since he has had years of practice.  Alas, it is my job to make dinner and his job to clean up the mess. Finally, I was in search of ways to make dinner interesting and less of a challenge.

I was first introduced to freezer meals through the way of batch cooking. I would often make a large pot of chili and freeze half of it or make 3 lasagnas instead of just 1 for dinner. This allowed me to pull out a lasagna or chili when I needed something fast. This worked great for me for years but I became bored with the same rotating dinners. I bought so many cookbooks hoping to find new recipes to add to my rotation. But after trying so many recipes with hours of prep, I gave up. I became frustrated because my family didn’t seem to really enjoy the new recipes and the prep was exhausting.  So I began searching for other options, (processed foods were not an option) and I thought I was doomed to boring meals with hours spent in the kitchen in order to give my family the healthy meals we needed.

When my quest seemed hopeless and my 3rd baby was born I was introduced to Wildtree, an organic spice company that amazed me – Simple, Healthy Dinners. Yes! That’s what I needed! I needed something simple to prepare and simple to cook. I needed something healthy, because real food, using our John Henry’s Grass Fed meats is a priority. And, of course, dinner! Dinner time is a main event at our house and most often times dinner leftovers are packed up for us to eat for lunch the next day. That being said, it is important to me that my meals are big enough to allow for leftovers, as well as, the needs of my littles, aka. bottomless pits. My littles are definitely big meat eaters and that is definitely something I embrace. I want them stocking up on all the good protein and extra benefits they receive from our meats.

So what are these freezer meals all about? They are about giving you more time. All of Wildtree’s freezer meals are designed to be ready in about 30 mins. or less. There are also several crock pot options that make the meal even faster! The process to make the freezer meals is super easy as well. You can make it alone in the comfort of your own home or attend/host a workshop and visit while assembling your meals. The prep work is a dream as well. I will gladly spend an hour of my time to chop and prep veggies, knowing i am only dirtying the needed dishes and pans once instead of each time I make a meal. In addition, the time is well spent seeing that I am making 10 large meals to feed my family.  

Keeping my freezer stocked with Wildtree Simple, Healthy Dinners is now a top priority and not a fad or trend for me.  I just can’t imagine my life without my freezer meals. For my personal use, I make up a new bundle once every 3-4 weeks. This keeps a good supply going in my freezer as well as allowing us to have a variety of flavors.

 

Love, Katie 

Next Drawing April 1st, 2019

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Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

Megan T. -Clarkson MI

Thank you again for the wonderful gift. I'm looking forward to cooking some great meals with the IP.
Time to stock up on John Henry's delicious meats and start meal planning!

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