I started creating this system four years ago after I gave birth to our third child. I enjoyed cooking, and shopping frugally was one of my hobbies, but after baby three was born, I no longer had the mental energy to page through recipe cards, cookbooks, bookmarks, keep track of ingredients needed, and remember it at the right time.
While I used to be able to keep information in my head, now I found myself lacking the brain power and the energy. Paring down my pantry, purging my recipes, and printing out the processes freed up my mental energy for other things in life – even making it easier to let the children help in the kitchen!
Benefits of simplifying menu planning and meal preparation:
- Grocery listing and menu planning no longer have to happen simultaneously.
- No more half-used bags and jars of specialty ingredients forgotten in the corners of the fridge and pantry.
Once you’re practiced, dinner can come together with only a quick glance at the plan, instead of constantly referring to recipes (after finding them again!).
Time spent at the grocery store is greatly reduced not only when you buy fewer things, but also when you buy only the same things all the time – habit and routine work for you!
If you have meat in the freezer and something in the pantry, you know you can make something for dinner.
You can prepare and eat real, whole foods without health-food-store ingredients or gourmet cooking classes.
You can purchase foods in bulk for greater savings, because you know you will use them and you have a variety of options for preparation.
Having less to keep track of frees up mental resources; fewer ingredients and fewer recipes equals less strain and drain.
There are so many recipe options now at our fingertips online that it can greatly reduce mental — as well as bookmark — clutter when you have an easy, simple filter to run recipes through.
In my experiment of cooking with fewer ingredients and limiting my recipes to those that use my simplified master list, I have found the benefits far outweigh any regrets over bypassing fancy bottled sauces, most canned products, and boxed macaroni and “cheese.” Limitations can bring freedom.
The options available at any grocery store can be overwhelming and even stressful. Being able to walk past 90% of the grocery store’s contents with a peaceful, “Nope, that’s not part of the plan,” is freeing. It even makes shopping with kids easier, because you’re making few decisions on the spot, so you’re more available and present rather than wrapped up in comparing salad dressings or wondering if this or that is a good deal.
The bottom line for myself has been that the more simple I keep things, the less mental energy my stuff requires of me, and this includes food shopping and preparing
Plan ALL the meals!
The Simplified Pantry menu plans make it easy! Menu planning shouldn’t require magic to make everything come together. Find out how quick and simple menu planning can be with the Simplified Pantry system – get started for free!