I’m a planner. I make lists, use a paper organizer, keep track of times, to-dos, and more.
So of course I try to meal plan.
This should satisfy my urge to plan, and help my desire to lose weight.
But I find certain traps that get me and mess me up every time.
- getting bored of the meals I consistently eat
- being too lazy to cook that night and opting for fast food
- not having the time to cook (weekday mornings)
- getting discouraged because I’m not losing weight, so indulging
Let’s look at my current meal set-ups.
For my weekday breakfasts, I currently have a bowl of reduced sugar cinnamon instant oatmeal, a cup of pineapple orange juice, and a tumbler of ginger lemon tea. I get up at 5:15 and have the oatmeal by 5:25, juice after. I typically finish the tea by 8:30, while at work. I would prefer to start my day with protein, but 5:15 is EARLY. I am not going to wake up 15 minutes earlier to cook some eggs. Those microwave breakfasts make me feel yucky. And even though I know the carbs won’t hold me over, I figure the oatmeal is better than nothing? For awhile I was making these yummy little omelette muffin things on Sunday, I’d freeze them, and then heat up 2 per day. I was getting protein and veggies. Everything was great. Except for the fact that cooking eggs in a muffin tin is awful as far as cleaning. No matter how much spray or muffin liners, the tins would be caked and so hard to clean. I actually had to throw 2 separate tins out due to not being able to get everything off of them. And I can’t afford to just keep buying a new muffin tin! Oatmeal is cheap and easy and quick and relatively healthy (as opposed to a drive-thru sandwich). But I need to find another plan.
On the weekends, I typically cook my family pancakes and eggs or make breakfast tacos. Time consuming, so not a possibility during the week.
I typically try to make a large batch of something on Sunday that I can have throughout the week. For example, this week I will be having rice, stir fry veggies, apple sausage. Last week, I had turkey, swiss, and hummus on tomato wraps. Sometimes I will have salads. This is OK. I just want more variety. I spend way too long Googling “easy healthy lunch recipes”. Most of them are things that, honestly, don’t sound good (I’m not a fan of chickpeas or tofu, thanks) or are meant to be made and eaten then (which isn’t conducive for a teacher trying to quickly eat and grade during my short lunch break).
On the weekends, I often snack instead of have lunch. A cheese stick here, some peanut butter there.
During the week, my mid-morning snack is a homemade lactation cookie. I’m still breastfeeding, and incredibly proud of that, so I eat one of these while I am pumping at work. I will probably be done pumping by June, and then the cookies will be done as well. The cookies have oats, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips, so I can feel like I am being both indulgent and almost-pseudo-healthy all while helping my milk supply. My afternoon snack is usually something like a halo orange or a small apple. Sometimes I will have one of those little cheese and nut snack mixes instead.
On the weekends, as mentioned above, my snacks and lunches usually merge into many small mini meals.
Here is where I usually fall apart. I plan out what I will make for the week. I actually make the thing I planned about 70% of the time? The other 30%, I cave on my way home and grab something unhealthy. But the issue is that my planned meals aren’t always the healthiest, either. My husband is not a fan of most vegetables. And since he does the dinner dishes, I feel bad dirtying a whole separate dish just so I can have some vegetable side. So we end up doing things like chicken thighs and mashed potatoes, pasta with meatballs or Italian sausage, steaks with a noodle side, turkey tacos. Plus it is just the two of us. Our daughter is getting better and better about eating what we are eating at dinner, but occasionally I have to cook a whole different meal for her. For example, she only has 8 teeth, so she won’t have steak; so I’ll make her some chicken nuggets or something that night. When we have tacos, I make her a quesadilla. But since I want to make sure she is eating healthy, I am trying to make sure that there is some type of veggie.
But we typically eat dinner around 5:30-5:45 (remember, we get up EARLY). And most days I don’t even get home until 5. I just plain and simple do not have time to do one of those nice “one pan meals” that goes into the oven for an hour after doing all the prep.
So our dinners tend to be a rotating mix of the same things over and over.
I get down on myself about this really badly.
“If I was a better wife and mom, I’d be able to find the time to make a healthy, delicious meal that my husband and daughter will both love.”
“If I was better at planning, my meal plans would be healthy enough to help me lose this weight.”
But I’m not.