by Mary Segers
Stressor #1: Being Unprepared for Meals
How/Why It Stresses You
Your mind is constantly preoccupied with it
This interferes with you being able to focus or concentrate on other things.
While I was preparing this I had decided on making chicken and yellow rice as a main dish for that evening yet . . . for some strange reason . . . I kept forgetting about that. I would notice that my mind had stopped working on this project and was wandering to dinner which was only a few hours away. When I reminded myself that I had it covered I could go back to concentrating.
You end up scrounging for something to fix
How often have you ended up with hot dogs, pizza, or some other fast food? Did you feel good about your choice? I know I didn’t a few times.
I know I have (in years past) been in the grocery store peering into others’ baskets trying to get some idea even though it was already dinner time only to trudge home with the above–mentioned hot dogs, pizza, or some other fast food.
You will probably rarely feel good about a choice made
When I did that I felt like crap. Like a total failure. I got fed up and vowed to change.
Many times the cost for being unprepared for meals will be greater . . . in money and health
It’s stressful to feel like a failure. Money and health are 2 things we ALREADY stress over. Yet being unprepared in this area costs us both money and health and therefore makes us even more stressed.
Talk about failure on top of failure and stress on top of stress.
You know you’re not being a good role model
Our children are watching and learning from us. They are learning good as well as bad habits. Don’t look back and wish you’d done things different.
Stressor #1: Solutions
Prepare meals in advance
If you want to stop feeling so stressed this would be the first place I’d start for several reasons:
- You’ll be forced to “see into the coming week” which automatically gets you more mentally prepared . . . especially for hectic weeks
- You’ll be able to see and say, “You know by Thursday I’m really going to need a break so I’ll plan XYZ for then”
- You’ll be able to ease your family into helping (more about that below)
- You’ll eradicate feeling like a failure in this area
- More than that, you’ll feel like a success
- The time you previously wasted here (in grocery store lines at the busiest time of the day, driving, etc.) you can now redirect to some other area
- You can save TONS of time and money . . . which we’ve already mentioned are natural stressors
- You’ll be the great role model you want to be
Make sure you have a couple of stand-by super quick meals
There are nights when things come up . . . someone’s sick or I have to do a sport’s practice or a physical therapy for one of my grandsons . . . then it’s really easy to take out a freezer meal, or draw upon one of my super quick meals.
Enlist help from your spouse and . . . yes . . . kids
You can do things to make it really easy . . . if not fun . . . for your spouse and kids to help out with meals. For instance, put up some meatballs (I’ll show you mine later).
They could pull those out along with some frozen spaghetti sauce and viola . . . they are the proud authors of a totally awesome meal.
Your kids will feel accomplished, your spouse will feel competent, and you will feel . . . well, you’ll be somewhere having a girls’ night out so you won’t even be thinking about it.
Wouldn’t You Like This?
Meet Corn Pops. He’s a budding cook and don’t be fooled by the biscuits and gravy, he likes his veggies too.
As a matter of fact, he’s the only kid a Papa Murphy’s employee had ever seen come in and order spinach on his pizza.
I believe this was his first foray into the cooking realm. This was a couple of weeks after his 10 birthday.
Look at how proud he is.
My daughter, Nyk, is really encouraging this new interest of his.
She let me know later that the reason she was sitting on the couch was because her sciatic nerve was acting up and he was trying his best to help.
Life Application For Stressor #1: Being Unprepared for Meals
Prepare meals in advance
This is actually quite easy. And it’s sort of like a double punch. Simply, on the weekend—whatever your weekend may be—think ahead to the following week or two and see 1.) What you may be able to double (or more) while you’re already cooking so that 2.) You’ll have something to pull out of the freezer in the future.
For instance, I’m a big fan of making a huge pot of spaghetti. I use 2 of the huge cans of chopped tomatoes from Sam’s club along with 5 lbs of turkey. It makes for quite a bit of sauce. I plan to put some up in a gallon bag and this will be for another meal of spaghetti or something like lasagna.
Another thing I love to do is to make quadruple (or more) when I make meatloaf. Then I put 3 (or more) in the freezer and can you imagine how much time that saves in future meals.
Even something as simple as browning an extra pound of hamburger when you’re cooking one night to freeze for something quick like tacos or sloppy joes would save you time and energy in the very near future.
Living like this you’ll never be unprepared for meals again.
Make sure to have a couple of stand-by super quick meals
Whether that’s spaghetti you pull out of the freezer or sloppy joes to use that pre-browned meat. A few preplanned quick meals can be a sanity saver and will really help you on the road to focusing on feeling blessed not stressed.
Right now in my freezer I have some leftover roast, carrots, and gravy in a freezer bag marked “For beef pot pie.” I also have some shredded rotisserie chicken meat that I’d found marked down at Walmart. The chickens were $2.50 and I bought 4. I separate them into white and dark meat and am able to pull them out for a quick casserole. They can also be made into tacos or some other quick meal.
Enlist help from your spouse and kids
Part of what I teach is to make it easy for your spouse and kids to help you. If they aren’t the most adept in the kitchen then don’t fight it just make it easy. You could make a complete casserole and just have them pull it out and pop it in the oven.
Ideally, you’ll want to move them from that to actually helping create those meals. But, hey, for now let’s start where they are, right?
This has been an excerpt of my book Focus on Feeling Blessed Not Stressed: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Home Time Management.
If you want more excerpts simply go to the main page titled Focus on Feeling Blessed and on that page you’ll find a list of links to more excerpts as I post them or just go ahead and buy my book on Amazon.