This Sunday I had what felt like the entire day ahead of me to make a meal plan, prep most of the ingredients, seasonings, and pieces/parts to make my week go smoothly. I had extra time to peruse the grocery store aisle and my husband continued to do dishes while I cooked this, that and the other thing. I realize that without children or truly much responsibilities this day, it allowed me plenty of time to calmly cook and prepare to my heart’s desire.
When I don’t have time to look for new recipes, plan meals and budget all in one day, I find it’s helpful to use my list of go-to meals. You can download my template,HERE, but it’s basically a list of three to five go-to breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that I know the ingredients, outcome, and approximate budget as well. These are meals and snacks that get rotated in each month at some point, so I usually have their shelf stable ingredients on hand. Here are five other reasons to have a go-to list.
- Budget – When money is tight your go-to list can have ideas on it that cost less and it might leave room in the budget for one new food product or recipe that week.
- Healthy – Most everyone wants to deliver healthy and delicious meals for themselves and their family. A list of healthy go-to’s can help you stay nourished and satisfied all week.
- Known Items – I know what is in the recipes and where everything is, making grocery shopping easier and faster. It also allows me to change up one ingredient every so often, if the recipe calls for cheddar cheese but colby jack is on sale, I can make a quick swap that doesn’t take much thinking time.
- Coping with stress – If you have a crazy week ahead and you come home exhausted, I find that sometimes coping with that stress is easier if I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner. I’ve got my go-to ideas and by having at least three to five (or more!) listed, I can find something that sounds good and won’t take me much time.
- Goals – There are so many things that can knock us off the wagon when we’re trying to make changes. A list of meals and snacks that are helpful for your goals can help when you’re standing in the kitchen or pantry not sure what to eat. Or it can come in handy when your stomach is on empty and you’re ready to eat everything and anything in the fridge!
The go-to template can be downloaded here, 5 Go-To Meals, if you missed it above. Can you relate to needing some good go-to ideas? Don’t get me wrong, cooking new recipes and meal prepping is great, but when there simply isn’t time my go-to list is my saving grace.