Now with two tiny humans in the mix, I needed to adjust how I meal plan right now.
Near the end of pregnancy I was tired and lacked inspiration and so meal planning looked like this:
Sunday = cook
Monday = eat Sunday leftovers
Tuesday = cook
Wednesday = eat Tuesday leftovers
Thursday = clean out fridge or eggs + toast for dinner
sandwiches + chips + fruit/veg for like 6 weeks straight lol
Now with a newborn and toddler, I don’t have time (and don’t want to take time) to make a sandwich during nap time because usually, I’m not child free during Cal’s naps. Sometimes I get Teddy to nap laying down and not on me during Cal’s nap, but that isn’t often. So, this is my new meal planning strategy that is working so far.
We have community group (a small group that meets from our church) on Sundays from 5-7pm so we pick up Roots for dinner on that night. My go-to bowl is the El Jefe – tasty and filling since the portions are hefty. I really like not cooking on Sundays.
Mondays for lunch we eat leftovers from the weekend or eggs + toast.
Then on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I cook dinner and the next day we eat the leftovers for lunch. Tuesday dinner becomes Wednesday lunch and so on.
To put it simply, it looks like this:
Sunday dinner = eat out
Monday lunch = leftovers or eggs + toast
Monday through Thursday dinner = cook
Tuesday through Friday lunch = leftovers
And then most Fridays we grill pizza and either have a quieter night in with just us or we invite friends over – it just depends on how busy the week has been and what we have going on the rest of the weekend. Trying to perfect our grilled pizza has been really fun and been something “new” to do during the weirdness of COVID when life can feel really mundane and unexciting. Although, we don’t make our pizza dough. We live about a five minute walk from Albemarle Baking Company which makes amazing breads, baked goods and pizza dough – and so as long as we live this close to an incredible bakery, I have zero motivation to spend my time learning to use yeast. Maybe one day…maybe.
We do make our own sauce though! Using this recipe. And most weeks we are purist and top the pizza with cheese + pepperoni. If others are joining us we branch out and make the second pizza with spicy sausage + pepper + onion. It’s taken some trial and error to get the grilling part down but dang, you guys, now that we have I think I can confidently say our homemade grilled pizza is my favorite in all of Charlottesville – and there is some really good pizza here!
Back to how I meal plan right now. Cooking dinner each weeknight and then having leftovers for lunch the next day is working well in this season of life for two reasons.
1) All I have to do is heat and eat
2) I have a hearty meal ready to go which works well to tame breastfeeding hunger. That doesn’t mean you can’t/shouldn’t eat dinner leftovers if you aren’t breastfeeding (that goes without saying) but rather, a snack plate lunch or salad or something like that just isn’t going to cut it these days
I typically have 2-3 quick meals planned and 1-2 meals that are new recipes or something that takes longer than 20-30 minutes to get on the table. Before Teddy was born, when it was just Cal, Nick would usually go running with Cal in the jogging stroller while I cooked dinner (it was so nice for me to cook solo with a podcast)…but now with a newborn, sometimes they still go jogging and Teddy sleeps on me in the wrap or if the tiny humans are more needs, it’s a team effort to get dinner cooked and everyone fed.
Thankfully (seriously, it was so helpful!) I didn’t have to cook for the first time until Teddy was almost six weeks old because we had a wonderful meal train, my momma was in town for two weeks feedings us well and Nick’s parents were here for a week after that and did some cooking. Now that I’m getting back in the swing, I’m back to doing the meal plan and grocery ordering + delivery on Fridays. That works well for us.
Last week’s meal plan lineup was:
Monday – salmon burgers (using this recipe) with garlic aioli + roasted yukon gold potatoes + roasted broccoli **this day was…A DAY. So at 6pm when dinner was nowhere in sight and we had two upset children in our hands we called an audible and made cheesy eggs + baked potatoes and roasted broccoli. Life with two under two (and kids in general) means always being prepared to pivot.
Tuesday – spaghetti with meat sauce + salad + garlic bread
Wednesday – grilled bbq chicken with corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and green beans
Thursday – hawaiin chicken tacos from POY (this is a new recipe) + chips and salsa
The salmon burgers and chicken tacos might take longer than 20-30 minutes for this week. Spaghetti and anything on the grill is always super quick and easy. Other simple fast meals I might make from week to week are tacos, quesadillas, baked ziti and when it gets cooler curries are always pretty fast.
For snacks, we usually have a good stock of bars, granola, etc (I spent our life savings at Costco before Teddy was born and we are still working our way through that stock) and then throughout the week Cal and I bake something one or two afternoons – usually some rendition of banana bread or a snack type cookie or bar. We made these last week and they are fab.
I am always interested in rhythms that are helpful for other people – as I am transitioning to a new season of life, I’m in the process of shifting our rhythms with meal planning, cleaning, organizing etc so they work well for us as a family of four. So, share yours in the comments!