How to answer “What’s for Dinner?” without getting stressed

22 May 2017

 

 

Sheri: Thanks for joining us this morning. Just wanted to find out from you what do you think is the most stressful food-related job in the house? And I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with the age-old question, what’s for dinner? I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. What they found in a small study in a university in Australia, they asked a bunch of working women that what is the most stress-related job? And they said that figuring out what to make for dinner was the most stressful. I’ve had my share of dinner-time blues where I’m standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, it’s five o’clock and I’m trying to figure out what to make and I’m just hoping that something magically will appear that’s going to appeal to the whole family.

Chris: And I think dads can relate too because we get asked that same question either when mom is not around or in my case, I took on a lot of the cooking over the past year so those same questions came up and you’re like oh no what do we do? So, Sheri will talk more about what we’ve done in the past and what we do now that’s really been a great solution.

Sheri: What they also found in that study is that it’s not the actual food prep that’s stressful, it’s the deciding what to make because you have to have the ingredients available and you want it to be food that’s actually going to provide some nutrition for your family. So, what is the answer to what’s for dinner. Well you have a few choices. Cold cereal and take out are always an option. But there is a healthier and less expensive solution and its meal planning. It is really great to be prepared and to know what you’re going to eat before ahead of time. I know it takes time to meal plan but it’s an investment of time that’s going to save you hours of frustration later.

Chris: Because if you think about it if you get some really good meal plans in place they’re going to take you throughout the year. So, you only have to do it once you test them out. You know the family likes it you’re in great shape going forward.

Sheri: So, I’ve been meal planning for my family for about 20 years now and probably even a little bit more than that. And what I would do is first I meal planned and Chris can attest to this. I would do a meal plan not a meal plan but I would make a meal every single.

Chris: A different meal.

Sheri: A different meal.

Chris: So, we never knew what was coming.

Sheri: Every single day. No repeats. Not a realistic approach. I don’t recommend it. So, what I did after we attempted that, I attempted that. And it was a lot of taste testing.

Chris: I was a guinea pig.

 Sheri: And he came from a family that used to eat very regular meals every week so he knew what to expect. So, this got a little bit I think overboard. So, what I started to do is I would meal plan for the season. I put together about 10 meals and I’m talking dinners for each season. And what I would do is I would stick to whatever was in season. So, when the cold weather was here I would do more soups and more like the local produce wasn’t handy so a little bit more frozen produce. And then in the warmer weather I would do more salads, lighter foods. And I would then after the season was over I had a whole season of meals then I could use that the following year. And I relied on this system for many years. What I found is meal planning is a gift to myself. So, when I walk in the kitchen and I know what to make, I can’t tell you this the stress that it takes off of me as a mom. And granted I only cook a few nights a week so that we have a lot of leftovers in the fridge. Our family is very busy. Everybody’s kind of going different ways but we do try to sit down a few nights a week and have dinner together.

 Chris; And the planning isn’t just for dinners. of course, lunches are take care of, breakfasts are taken care of. And being someone that does the food shopping every now and then it is so much easier to walk out with a list knowing what you’re supposed to pick up.

Sheri: Right.

Chris: And you don’t end up picking up as much junk that way and your budget stays intact because you’re not walking in there just going oh let’s grab this and let’s just grab that and then you get up to the checkout line and you’re like oh my goodness what did I just do? So, it really puts balance into both what you’re going to eat and what you’re going to buy.

Sheri: Right. Like I was saying I cook a few nights a week, enough to make leftovers and to give myself a break we have one night a week it’s called help yourself and literally everyone helps themselves. Usually there’s food left in the refrigerator or pretty much you can eat whatever you want. I mean including cereal or an omelet. And like I said it gives me a break. And believe it or not the family really likes that night.

 Chris: You get to pick. Sheri always makes enough so we have an extra meal out of it either it’s used for lunch or we use it for leftover on those Thursday nights. And it is, it’s usually something that holds over really well and then you have your choice on Thursday night whatever you’re in the mood for.

Sheri: They like it and it’s good because people get to choose what they want without my interference. Obviously, your child needs to be old enough to be able to make them make their own dinner to do something like this but you could also.

Chris: Leftovers take care of it too.

 Sheri: Yeah even as a young child could help themselves to leftovers or make themselves or you know something small something to eat. What I do though each week is I do invest a little time before I go grocery shopping in preparing my list and making sure I have the ingredients that I need to make my meals for the week. And you can do that monthly. That’s something like ideally if I do that over the course of four weeks I now have a four-week meal plan and I could just repeat that. So that’s something that you can do as well. I used to handwrite all my meal plans and grocery lists but now I use apps. There are apps now like FoodPlanner and Cozi which are great ways to organize your grocery shopping and it’s helped me because usually my meal plans and my list used to get very messy. So, it really keeps it nice. And Chris had mentioned before this saves you money and it saves your sanity most of all. But it also saves you a ton of money over the course of the year.

Chris: Right. And you know what another thing you know we’ll talk about this probably in a future video. But getting the kids involved and having them pick out what they want for lunch and what they want for dinner. And even if they want to try, if you want them to try something new you have them jump onto Pinterest or look out on the web and say Gees this is a good recipe. You add it into the list you add it into the meal planning and it gets them participating in it and it makes a world of difference in getting them to try new foods.

 Sheri: One thing we do, I wanted to mention is I have a lot of Pinterest boards on food and one of them that I have that shared with our whole family is Family Dinners.

Chris: And can we share them with them?

Sheri: Well if they were to come to my Pinterest page Sheri McNally I believe is you know just go to my Pinterest. I could do a link on the Facebook page.

Chris: And we can move them to Sheri and Chris Pinterest page.

Sheri: Yes. Yeah actually. I’m sorry.

Chris: We’ll move those over to that.

Sheri: We can do that.  And we do a family dinner page so as my daughters are looking through Pinterest they can add dinners as they go.

Chris: Right.

Sheri: So, I just wanted to say if you’re not a meal planner and this seems overwhelming to you to do like a whole week’s worth of meals. Try two days, just think two days ahead.

Chris: Two days or just one meal.

Sheri: Even one meal for the week. Just think ahead and make sure you have the ingredients on your grocery list. You will be so happy that you have something prepared for your family. I can tell you, it will relieve so much stress.

Chris: And your budget, you know just doing takeout, it’s so expensive in relation to just making that meal and the meals don’t have to take two to three hours. You know you’ve seen in our other videos you can do this quickly if you prepare.

Sheri: Right.

Chris: You know we’ll help you along with that with future videos.

Sheri: So, my question to you, do you have any meal planning tips that you would like to share with our Facebook community? Leave it in the comments below. If you found this video valuable that somebody might enjoy watching it, we would really appreciate if you could share it and like it if you like. Anything else you’d like to cover?

Chris: You know what we’ll try and do over the next week or two is get you out a template so be on the lookout for that and we’ll post that and we’ll e-mail it out to you. And that’s about it, I think.

Sheri: All right. Well we want to thank you for joining us today and we look forward to talking to you again soon.

Chris: Bye everyone.

Sheri: Bye.

 

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