Meal Planning after the Holidays
We all spoil ourselves from time to time but the holidays always seem a little harder to recover from. The last few months of the year are like a never-ending ride down Indulgence Lane. Meal planning is sporadic or non-existent!
My family does not celebrate Halloween but the candy still ends up in our house! For weeks. Then there’s Thanksgiving with all its leftovers and we slide right into Christmas baking. Maybe you have multiple Christmas celebrations with
different members of your family, going here and going there.
The new year comes along and with it, new goals or resolutions. Only then do you realize how much of a rut you’ve gotten into with cooking and eating right. The busyness of the season lends itself to drive-thrus and meals from the freezer aisle. Add in homeschooling and activities and it can be hard to get back on track after a holiday break.
Meal Planning to the Rescue!
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Meal planning to the rescue! But…just like everything else, it can be hard to get started again. If you are already familiar with meal planning, great! If you were not already doing it, or got out of the habit due to the different schedules of the holiday season, it’s a great time to get started. It’s the best way to keep you on track with all your meals so you
can focus your energy on other things each day.
For the first few weeks of meal planning, I suggest sticking with recipes you’re familiar with and not tackling meals that require a ton of prep. This will help you transition back into a good routine.
The first thing you need to do is check your pantry and fridge. Do you have any canned goods like sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, or green beans that can be used for upcoming dinners? Do you have a lot of baking supplies still on hand? I recommend using up any specialty ingredients so incorporate those into your first meal plan.
Also consider what you have used up. Butter, milk or milk substitutes, spices, condiments and similar that have been used in larger quantities – these may need to be replaced. Baking ingredients like flour, sugar, and yeast often run low after all the holiday cooking. Write down anything you’ll need to add to your grocery list.
Tips to get your Meal Plan back on Track!
Now you should have some meal ideas and an idea of what you’ll need from the grocery store to restock your pantry and fridge. Put your meals on a sheet of paper, starting by plugging in dinners. Consider if you have co-ops or extracurriculars coming back into your routine and be sure to plan around that. You don’t want a very involved recipe on those days; the slow cooker or Instant Pot would be better. I also try to leave a night for leftovers each week to make sure nothing is going to waste.
You can use leftovers for lunches also, so now as you write in your lunches, take that into consideration. Focus on quick ideas to get you back into the swing of things without overwhelming yourself. My favorite easy lunches are a mix of sliced or cubed cheese, lunch meat or a hot dog, cut up fruit and/or veggies (or grapes, berries or dried fruit), and
crackers or chips. Sandwiches, soups and salads are also well-rounded options.
Add breakfasts last. I try to keep a running list of easy breakfasts since I’m not a morning person. Go easy on yourself these first few weeks back. Cold or hot cereal, eggs and bacon, smoothies or fruit…all straightforward ideas for breakfast. Save the more complicated ideas or new-to-you recipes for next month.
Create a full grocery list based on your meal plan. Add in paper products or diapers, etc. for baby, cleaning supplies if needed, and anything you wrote down earlier that you like to keep on hand but have used up over the holidays.
If you haven’t tried grocery pickup yet, I would strongly recommend it! You place your order online, select a pickup time, and they will do the shopping for you AND load your car! Many grocery stores are doing this now; some have fees and some don’t. I like Walmart and they do not charge. You can use my referral link for $10 off your first order if you’re a new customer.
Now that the holidays have passed, it’s time to get back in a groove
serving our families healthy meals. Our health, our bank accounts, and our
palates will thank us!
Meal planning and grocery pickup have simplified my life, which makes it easier to focus on all the other moving parts as a homeschool mom.
Andrea Townsley is a Christian mom of four spunky littles and wife to one
hardworking husband. She blogs at townsleytimes.com, writing on biblical homemaking, homeschooling, traditional cooking and health, living a wholesome life, and raising kids in the midst of it all. For more practical tips, find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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