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Meal planning for busy people
Meal planning is absolutely essential to having a calm evening when you get home from work or when you're trying to manage fragile, tired little people. Even as the person responsible for getting everyone's organising up to scratch, it is something that I struggle with. Oops!

Making time for meal planning (and everything you need to achieve) is essential. I wrote a post a couple of days ago about how much time we spend stuffing around on social media and the net doing mindless stuff. To get organised, we need to be able to refocus that energy on things that actually need doing - in this case, meal planning.

Something important to remember - Kids really don't care if there is a cyclic menu. What's a cyclic menu? Those in Defence will be oh so sick of them, but the reason that they're used, is because they work. It's predictable, it's repeatable and it also helps with budget planning. A cyclic menu is a menu that can be repeated, maybe every couple of weeks, or if you are more creative, every 6 weeks or so.

So, I think a really great way to start your meal plan, particularly if you have fussy eaters is to sit down (with them if necessary) and list all of the meals that are happily eaten, with no fuss or arguments. For us, it's burritos, taco boats (those soft shell tortillas that look like boats :), spaghetti, quiche, fish and chips, fried rice, just to name a few.

Sit down, and list all of the dinners, snacks, lunches that you and your family like to eat. Choose the duration of your cyclic menu, and start populating the weeks ahead.

So once, you've populated your cyclic menu with what you know you'll all eat, check out what's in your cupboard. Use those tins that have almost expired, and get creative. Search the net for the bagillions of recipes that are there and get cooking. Will your kids eat it? Who knows, but it is worth a try, right?

And never forget the power of takeaway night. Everyone needs a night off, and we don't always need meat and three veg (ok, we probably do, but cut yourself some slack!) Not only is it a great relaxant for everyone, it can be a good bargaining chip hahaha!!

At the start of every week, populate your Daily Orders board (if you have one) with the menu. Not only does this give you certainty about what you're cooking, if the kids are old enough, it will stop them asking questions about what's for dinner, and if you're not the first one home, it gives other family members an opportunity to start dinner so you might not have to.

Another huge benefit of meal planning is that you don't mindlessly go to the shops, needing to buy milk, coming out and buying $150 worth of crap. Trust me, it adds up.

In all seriousness though, it must be remembered that running a family takes input from everybody. It is not just one person's responsibility to make it all work. As I write, my husband is making Banana Bread in the Thermie for when the kids get home.

What's your go to meal to satisfy the whole family?
October 18, 2016 by Kelly Walter

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