No matter how chaotic life gets, we still need to eat. The what, when, and how much are a bit harder to figure out. Life is stressful and breaking things into manageable sized chunks can help anyone get a handle on large tasks, like organizing all their meals. By meal planning, I am able to remove so much of my daily stress and it’s easy to eat around my busy schedule. Having a meal plan, then makes shopping and cooking easier. When those are easier, I manage to eat regularly and avoid being hangry.
Everyone needs to eat, and my process will help you make a routine that will take away a lot of your stress around putting food on the table. There are three main chunks to my system: meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. On this page you will find an overview of these three main steps as well as some other more advanced chaos management techniques. I encourage you to follow the links for all the details. You can receive your own Chaos Management Worksheet by subscribing to my email list below.
I meal plan every week, and you can too. Don’t be discouraged if you have trouble in the beginning. It was rough for the first two weeks, then I got a handle on it. However, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can get started quickly using my free meal planning templates.
My meal planning week starts on the day I go shopping, Saturday and ends on Friday. Most nights have a theme for dinner, which helps me choose recipes quickly. I also make my plan to maximize any leftovers. To get a step by step of how to meal plan, please check out my post right here!
I only have time to go grocery shopping once a week. Even then, grocery pick-up or delivery is becoming more and more common for me because my time is valuable. Your time is valuable too and I’m guessing you would rather spend it doing something more fun than grocery shopping.
By following this plan, I was able to stop over buying groceries. Now I rarely throw out any good food. Each week I only shop at 2-3 stores, and I only have to go to each once. No more mid-week emergency ingredient runs through frustrating rush hour traffic.
I use my meal plan to make a shopping list. To find out my step by step process, please check out my post right here!
Now cooking is not something that has come naturally to me. I’ve been improving bit by bit over the years and I hoard all my favorites in a family recipe binder. It’s a huge three ring binder filled with recipes in plastic sleeves. There is something about having a physical recipe in the kitchen that I can’t replace with my phone. The plastic sleeve protects it from all sorts of trouble, like caramel splatter. But I slide them out of the sleeves and scribble my notes everywhere.
However, the binder grew a bit too big. So, I also have a second smaller three ring binder, which holds the recipes I’m using this week. My weeknight recipes generally take 15-45 min from when I step into my kitchen until I am stuffing my face. There are also a lot of baking recipes because I enjoy it, but these can be a lot more time consuming.
If you want to find out more about how I choose recipes and organize my binders, please check out my post right here!
Advanced Chaos Management Techniques
Meal prepping is a great way to save time during the week. I don’t cook a week’s worth of food in an afternoon. That is just not one of my skills. But I do prep to take some of the stress and time out of weeknight cooking. What you want to prep will depend on your own lifestyle.
I made a meal prepping checklist that you can use too. It breaks down weekly meal prep into common and easy groups. If you want to know more about my meal prepping methods, please check out my post right here!