936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
There is a single thread of weakness that has been interweaving itself between the fibers of our intricately-fabricated method of eating well for some time now. This thread has often been a trip-up in our resolve to eating whole foods. It is a weakness that both my husband and I share, and that weakness is this: Eating out.
My husband and I LOVE trying new, local restaurants and foods. One of our favorite things to do as a family is go out to brunch on the weekend. It’s not that these are bad things, not at all! They are experiences that we love to share as a family.
This year, however, we have set some high goals for our health and finances. We know that by reserving eating out as a special occasion to save for and savor, we will be taking a strategic step towards achieving our goals.
Above protecting our finances, there is yet another, even more important benefit of eating at home more. To bring to light this vital piece of the puzzle, let me quote from a blog post I wrote almost 3 years ago entitled, “The Family Who Dines Together”
As a mother, I count it as great privilege and responsibility to set an important tone in our home, and create a safe haven, by preserving the sanctity of eating a wholesome dinner around the table as a family.
I have never been good at meal planning. I cannot write down a specific meal for each specific day of the week. Especially with pregnancy thrown in the mix, if I write down “Chicken noodle soup” for Friday, and then wake up Friday morning craving burritos, I can guarantee you we are not having chicken noodle soup that night!
This year, I am taking a unique approach to it, and it is proving to be the most effective strategy in our goal to eat out less!
It looks like this:
1. At the beginning of each month, plan out around 20 different specific meals to have that month.
2. Write out and shop for every ingredient needed for those meals (I do take 1-2 other small grocery trips to restock on milk and veggies throughout the month)
3. When I wake up each morning, choose which one of those meals from our list to make that evening
4. I always take into account which fresh vegetables in the kitchen won’t be fresh much longer, and that plays a big part in which meal I choose for the evening so that we avoid wasting any fruits and vegetables.
Having a plan gives me confidence, and leaving margin in that plan for daily cravings and preferences gives me freedom.
Once I have chosen which meal from our monthly list we’ll be having that evening, I make sure that I set the meat in water to thaw by noon. With meat already thawed, I know I have to cook it that evening so it’s not sitting in the fridge to spoil! This strategy has saved us from many nights of take-out in the past!
If you’re going to be out running errands close to meal time, make sure you have a meal ready to be made quickly (meat thawed, veggies chopped) when you get home, or make a meal in the crockpot earlier in the day, ready to welcome you and your crew home after a busy day!
This strategy was suggested to me by a friend on my Facebook page this week. She says that she keeps various snack bags in the car, rotating them out. She packs them with wholesome goodies such as trail mix, nuts, and popcorn. This gives her kids something to reach for when tummies grow rumbly while out and about, and helps them to avoid stopping somewhere to purchase a snack or meal.
This is another practice I have not held in the past. I’m incorporating it into our strategy slowly by making one freezer meal a week.
This means that (usually on the weekends when I have more time), I make two homemade pizzas or lasagnas instead of one. Having ready-to-bake meals from scratch wards off the temptation to order Chinese after a busy day when we are short on time and energy.
Start slow, and freeze meals that are easy to make doubles of. As Crystal Paine puts it in her book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
Today we got to reap the reward of our resolve at Kansas City’s greatest BBQ joint, Oklahoma Joes!
Let me just tell you, our meal out today was much more appreciated knowing that we have been eating wholesome meals at home for the week and a half leading up to this!
Whatever your health and financial goals are this year, every family can reap the rewards of reserving eating out for special occasions to save for and savor, and by preserving the life-giving practice of eating dinner around the table as a family!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!