Real Life Confession: Meal Planning Failures

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Here's a confession for you: I never follow my own meal plans.

That's not to say that I don't make any of the meals written on my meal plans, but that I never follow them exactly for a whole week straight.

Life happens. And that is a good thing.

Some days (most days, lately) the baby doesn't nap well so I don't have a chance to get those beans started early enough in the day.

Some days, right when I'm about to start cooking, we get a last minute dinner invitation. Or mid-week, I get a call from my mom who wants to visit in a couple days. Or I forget that there's a seminary event with food.

And sometimes I just plain forget to soak something, or thaw something, or buy something.

Lunch is usually leftovers, so that's not a big deal for planning. And I tend to plan my breakfasts but then go by whatever I feel like eating when I wake up. Which is usually fried eggs with toast and lots of butter.

But despite all these times when I just can't stick to the meal plan, I don't give up.


Because a partially followed meal plan is still better than no meal plan at all.

Even if I don't make two of the dinners I had planned in a given week, and the rest of them were mixed around, my meal plan still guaranteed that I had ingredients on hand to make a handful of healthy meals for my family.

Without meal planning, shopping trips would be full of impulse buys, and produce would constantly go bad in my crisper.

Without meal planning, many nights would involve a meltdown as I realize I'm starving I have no idea what to make for dinner.

Without meal planning, I'd be lost.

So if you have been hesitating to start this life-giving habit because you were afraid you wouldn't be able to follow through, I encourage you to let that go and do it anyway.

It only takes a few minutes of your time each week, and saves you loads of time, energy, and money.

And here's a tip: Don't over-plan. If you think you'll have trouble following through, just plan dinners. If you don't have a ton of time to cook or you tend to eat out sometimes, start with just three or four dinners a week. Write them down on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge where you can see it.

Then each night before you go to bed, think for a second about tomorrow's dinner. Do you have to thaw some meat or soak some beans? Then, even if you work full time or your days are full of diaper changes and errands and laundry, you'll know what to make for dinner and all will be well.

Need help planning meals? The eBook Real Fast Food has recently simplified my meal planning. Check it out! Review and Giveaway coming soon!

Read more Real Life Confessions here and here. Find all my meal plans here.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

This is part of: Fight Back Friday, Freaky Friday, Foodie Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Raising Arrows, Mama Moment Mondays


  1. Love this! Meal planning is absolutely critical to healthy eating.


  2. Love this post! I too have trouble sticking to a menu plan, thanks for the reminder how important it is anyway.

    Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back this week.

  3. I've meal planned very inconsistently. I think my husband likes it because he has food issues and so can prepare himself.
    I also learned last night to not try new things (inventing) when you are sick. Taste buds and smell don't work. I Ben had to have my daughter smell some meat this morning cause I didn't know if it was good or not.

    1. I usually don't have the strength to cook when I'm sick, and if I do, it's chicken noodle soup. That's when it's great to have some meals tucked away in the freezer.