I'll admit it. I'm addicted to Pinterest. I currently have over 1400 pins. Of those, nearly 400 are recipes or food related. Given that all of these fabulous recipes are right at my fingertips, you'd think meal planning would be a piece of cake, right? (Hang on a minute--let me find which board I pinned that recipe for Texas Sheet Cake). Well, frankly, meal planning gives me the exact sort of mental fatigue I thought I would only experience in college calculus.
It starts out like this: I come across some domestic diva's miracle blog where she plans out her family's entire menu for the week, cooking everything from scratch, and oh yeah, maintaining a grocery budget of $250 per month. Already, I'm out. Feeding one pre-teen and two teenage boys requires that much every week. Even if I could maintain that budget by cooking those meals exclusively, I know there would be a rebellion with my family sneaking off to eat fast food an hour after dinner. Time and again I've poured over blogs like these thinking "This will be great! I'll know exactly what to make for dinner, and it even has a grocery list!" And then as I read the recipes... "Okay, one kid doesn't like this recipe. Another kid is allergic to this one. The last time I made this, my youngest said it made his stomach hurt... and never mind. Pizza. We're having pizza. Every. Single. Day."
So, maybe meal-planning is not my expertise. Last night I decided I'd go to the grocery store and just wing it. (Chicken wings were on sale!) I grabbed whatever looked appealing, somewhat easy to cook in the midst of our busy schedules, and didn't contain any of our known food allergies. When my kids were helping me put away the groceries, one of them said, "Hey! You got good stuff this time!" I take my victories where I can. If you're struggling with meal planning, just stroll the grocery store isles for inspiration: meats/lean protein rich foods, a variety of fruits and vegetables, whatever grains or carbs you're into, and a few treats to maintain your good cop status. Done!