Stuck in the meal planning rut: when you don’t follow your own advice

fullsizeoutput_1669.jpegIn January, I started my third year of a cooking challenge to work my way through the food in the freezer and cupboards. I’m still at it because I am in a meal planning rut. Think of it as the home cook’s version of writer’s block. Just like words, the ingredients are all around but not coming together in any sort of satisfying way.

Visiting with my sister over the weekend, I quizzed her about her subscription to Plated. I was really intrigued, but with so many stores in town that will deliver my groceries and a fair amount of food already in my house, I probably don’t need a service that delivers the ingredients with the meal plan.

I had a subscription a few years back to The Fresh 20 which got me out of a previous meal planning black hole, and later I used a simple DIY method. Too bad I don’t stick with my own advice.

I surfed the web and found there are even more meal planning service options now. The Fresh 20 (no affiliation, just a happy former customer) still would be my favorite; it’s closest to my cooking style, uses unprocessed food prepared in a way that reduces waste, and isn’t overly complicated. Your mileage may vary. Happily many services will give you a free sample week, which is a great way to try out several and see which one works best for you.

100 Days of Real Food has some meal planning resourcesWisconsin Whisk bloggers have an impressive recipe output that can help me get unstuck. Hip Foodie Mom posts healthy meal plans on her blog. The Leek and The Carrot is thinking meal planning lately too! I’m saving online recipes in my Evernote account, and I have some cookbooks specifically to help with meal planning.

I guess I’ve come to rely on the garden and farmers’ market for inspiration, but in February, those seem like a daydream. I’d love to hear what meal planning tips or services have worked for you. I am going to put my meal plan in my bullet journal – but don’t google that or you’ll fall down a rabbit hole of fancy pages. My meal plan will be full of scribbles, arrows, and if I break out of my rut, crumbs and food stains.

8 thoughts on “Stuck in the meal planning rut: when you don’t follow your own advice

  1. Winter inspiration is ALWAYS difficult for me too! This is the first year I haven’t felt stuck in a rut of the same seven meals. I’ve been reserving tons of cookbooks I’m excited about from the library and that has been really helpful!

  2. Melinda Gustafson Gervasi

    I’m with you on making an effort to empty the freezer, etc., but a spell of illness for 5 weeks (finally feeling almost well) put the damper on my own efforts….nothing sounded good and I had little energy. If you could use some Coconut Oil to whip a little excitement into what you have on hand I have a jar I’d happily drop off for you! I bought it, but never got into using it. Take care with the wintry mix headed our way. -MGG

  3. Melinda Gustafson Gervasi

    Oh, I’ve found that frozen fruit blended into keifer is a wonderful boost of summer taste for those frozen yummies. Easy and healthy! We use plain whole milk keifer!

  4. You inspire me every winter to eat what’s in the freezer. This is the first year that I’m really doing it and it is making a difference in the food budget. Thank you so much for sharing your process. I always look forward to your posts.

  5. Pingback: Plan(ning) to Eat and liking it – Yarnstead

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