Meal planning has never worked for me. It just doesn’t. I can’t stick to the plan, and if a menu is given to me, I generally don’t like half of what is provided to me. That may be because I’m just a tad bit of a picky eater…
However, when I know what to make for dinner, I make it. I love to cook, but I just need that idea first.
My sister-in-law and I spent a day last year right before Louis was born to get me ready. We cooked for a morning and literally made my family over 20 meals to stick in the freezer in just a few hours. It was incredible helpful to have them on hand when I just didn’t have the time to make a dinner.
I wanted that again, for the holidays especially, when I am spending an entire day shopping [bet you didn't know we live rural enough that when we go shopping, we make it an entire day because of the travel!] and I get home just in time for dinner.
When I got onto Once A Month Meals, our sponsor, I was expecting to have the reaction I said above. That I wouldn’t like half the recipes that were chosen for this month, or I wouldn’t stick to it.
However, I’ve found beauty in the Once A Month Meals Pro subscription because I can swap out a recipe if I don’t think it’ll fly with me or my family.
But the biggest thing I love is that its geared towards these freezer meals. You can plan out a week, a month, or as much as you want [I did the Mini Meal, of five meals, to start off with], and do it all in one day and then just pull it out when you feel in the mood for that meal.
As for the planning and making it all in one day, Once a Month Meals has all the information you’d ever need for it.
You plan your menu, choosing one of their pre-planned monthly or mini menus and swapping out what you’d rather make. It then gives you a shopping list for all those meals combined, prep instructions [so you're as efficient as you possibly can me]. And then it gives you the individual recipe cards as well as instructions for when you thaw it and when it comes time to cook it. Perfect. Hold my hand the entire way, please!
My boys love to help me in the kitchen when they can. So I wanted to include them in the meal making! I found a few things that work well when making freezer meals with the kids.
My 5 tips for making Once a Month Meals with the kids:
- Do just a few meals when the kids are helping, such as the Mini Meals, because they won’t last an entire morning or all day to do a full meal. And even break that up into a couple of sessions throughout the day, or even over two days.
- Give them jobs to do: mixing, crushing, spreading, whatever you think they can handle.
- They can do all the dumping of ingredients and usually beg to do it!
- Let them help with clean up while you finish up. They’ll love to start the dishes in the sink [even if they're not really cleaning them, it'll keep them busy while you tidy up for real].
- Take time to talk to them, bond with them, and just have a great time!
George was all over helping me during the day and we actually made one of the meals to eat that same night [instead of putting it in the freezer]. That night he was so excited to eat it!
When Henry got home from school, he helped with one of the freezer meals and he was so excited about it that he wanted to eat it that night. So we saved one in the fridge to eat right away instead of sticking it in the freezer.
I love it when they help! They get so excited about new meals!
George is 3 years old. Henry is 5.5 years old.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Once A Month Meals.