Menu planning is one of those things that I have a love/hate relationship with right now. The organization junkie inside of me loves making a list of meals for the week ahead, developing a grocery list from that, and knowing what I’m going to cook when I come home from work every day. It helps keeps us on budget – our goal being to spend no more than $100 a week on groceries. Having a plan for the week and for grocery shopping is a necessity to stay within that; you can’t just walk around the store, randomly tossing items into the cart.
In the 5 ½ months that we’ve been married (plus probably a year before when I started trying this), I feel like I’ve developed a knack for menu planning. No more nights of staring down the pantry, wondering what I could make from what’s inside, ultimately deciding to order Chinese food.
But like I said, it’s a love/hate relationship – and the hate comes from the fact that it has gotten complex. The planning was relatively easy until last December; I would just pick things that I knew how to make, ask the husband for requests, maybe add a new recipe in once and a while, and make sure there was enough variety so that we didn’t eat the same meals week after week. Then, at the start of December, we decided to try The Zone Diet (which you can read about that on the blog I started to keep up with that, though since we derailed, I haven’t kept up with it). We keep it up for three weeks, were derailed by the holidays and life, but we are planning to get back on track Saturday (and I plan to keep up with that on the other blog again – two blogs? This could get crazy!).
So today, I started planning for next week. Planning has become like another job. If I didn’t work, I think I’d spend all day researching recipes and planning…but I do work, and I don’t have time for that. It’s complex because you have to learn to speak the Zone’s “block” language (blocks are how to measure food); either convert current recipes you use to blocks and find balance or look for new recipes that are already block friendly; and then you have to make sure the proportions are correct – for two people who get very different portions. I rant more about that here, so I’ll spare you and say the moral of the story: I can understand why people don’t stick with diets – they’re too complex!
I’ll be glad when Zone menu planning is as easy as menu planning was before, but until then, it’s staying in that love/hate category.