Putting a meal plan together used to bring so much stress. Wasn't it supposed to make life easier? It took me years to figure out easy meal planning.
We often make things that are supposed to help us much harder than they need to be. A lot of the times we do this because we forget to look at ourselves as individuals, and instead, we follow what everyone else is doing.
Unfortunately, feeding our families is not a choice. LOL It's one of the few basic needs we must fulfill as parents, partners, humans. It seems like such an easy concept, but it can be one of the most stressful things for many of us.
When I was a teacher, I often looked at a subject and saw all the things a student had to think about when learning it. It wasn't as simple as learning writing for instance.
To write, you needed to think about not only what you were writing, but also letter formation, letter spacing, word spacing, spelling, organization of your thoughts, spacing of paragraphs...the list goes on.
The same goes with just about anything, including food. We need to think about the meal itself, what we want to eat, the diet we may or may not be following, are we getting in all the nutrients, will it make everyone happy, where will we get the ingredients, what recipe are we following, etc etc.
No wonder it's stressful! And on top of all of that, there is the pressure of kids and keeping us all healthy.
So how is it even possible to plan overall, let alone make sure we are planning meals that are nutritious and wholesome? It's definitely much easier to go through a drive through at the end of the day.
I found that when I made the effort to plan all these healthy recipes for my family, I began to peter out mid week. Even when I spent time prepping everything on Sunday.
Sometimes, I didn't feel like making what I had planned but if I didn't make it, then that stuff all went to waste. Money and perfectly good food down the drain.
So between the guilt of that, and the pressure to stick to a plan I would muster up as much energy as I could and try to get it done. But then, eventually, I would just crash. And stop meal planning altogether for weeks until I could gain back my energy.
I knew there had to be an easier easy. There had to be a happy middle ground between getting wholesome food on the table that my family would eat and not wearing myself into the ground.
I started looking at what it was I was planning. I realized I was trying to make recipes almost every day of the week. Recipes that take time and effort to follow.
So I tried changing things up. I started letting go a lot more and stopped trying to make every day be the best of the best. I also took forced resets, made myself do nothing a few days a week.
What I saw was instead of my energy riding a roller coaster where it crashed and burned, it started to even out. Meals became much less stressful. And my energy was more regular, which allowed me the means to plan better and more consistently.
Letting go of doing it all
I started to write down what I was doing. I started creating systems for how I chose meals and what I chose. I simplified everything I did. And to my surprise, my family actually enjoyed not only the food more, but also me!
I wasn't as crabby or invested in everything I made because it didn't take the time and effort it used to. But they actually enjoyed the simpler things. Good wholesome food does not have to be fancy or complicated.
And, it's okay to not eat healthy and wholesome all of the time. Letting go some actually is healthy for your mental state. Stress wreaks havoc and if healthy eating is causing you stress, then what really is the end result?
I researched the why behind all this stress and found that there is actually real reasons that many of us suck at meal planning! We are not alone, and it isn't just in our head We aren't just lazy, or not cut out for it.
If you want to learn the data behind why meal planning can be so stressful, or why you may suck at it like I did, make sure to sign up for my masterclass below! It's free and perhaps you'll get that aha moment like I did!