Venting on Facebook

This was one of my recent posts on Facebook:

Time spent meal planning on Sunday: 1 hour
Time spent shopping for week’s meals: 1 hour
Time spent thinking about timing and logistics for dinner: 45 mins
Time spent cooking dinner: 1 hour
Time spent cleaning up dinner: 20 minutes
Time spent eating dinner with family: 10 minutes.

I immediately got several comments from peers (women my age) agreeing and commiserating with me. It was up for about a half hour. I deleted it.

Meal Planning

As you probably know if you’re reading this blog, I am a health and nutrition counselor. It is my job to encourage people to make healthy choices and shift their lifestyles to support these choices. There are many, many strategies to help this process along and I am there to support my clients and encourage them along their journey.

One of the most important parts of healthy choices is meal planning. By meal planning, one eliminates the last minute takeout or fast food scramble. It eliminates much of the stress that surrounds the choices and timing around meals. It helps avoid skipping meals and thus bingeing or late night snacking. When it’s done well, it provides healthy, real food for the week that can make you and your family feel good and ultimately look and perform better in life.

But I wasn’t thinking of my career when I wrote that post on Facebook. I was cleaning up the dinner I had painstakingly planned and created. I was pondering how quickly it’s all over after so much time planning, thinking, shopping, cooking.

What I didn’t ask myself until later (after the post) was, “will you stop planning meals?” When I did ask myself that question, I immediately and emphatically thought, “No.” That doesn’t seem to make sense, though, does it? Maybe not, until you think a little further. By planning meals every week, it takes away a lot of stress of the everyday question (most of the time at the last minute) “What should I make for dinner.” That, in itself, makes it worth it if you already have a stressful life, which most of us do. Even better, by planning and thus, creating, meals, we all sit down at the table for at least 15 minutes and actually talk, sometimes recap our days, and usually laugh, at least once. On days where meals aren’t planned, everyone eats at varying times alone or maybe with one other person.

Needless to say (I think), by meal planning, I am making healthier choices. Of course, I eat healthy every day, and even my not-so-healthy choices, are relatively healthy. By meal planning, we eat much more vegetables, because those are what are often left out when quick, last-minute meals are thrown together or if we take out food. There may be some vegetables, but not as many or as much as when I plan the meal and cook it myself. And, in my house, it’s almost always organic, which is not usually the case in take out or eating out.

So, I’ll complain when I have a not-so-popular meal that gets critical judgement or when a popular meal is scoffed down in ten minutes when I spent an hour or more making it. But I wouldn’t trade it for the alternative.


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