“She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” ~ Proverbs 31:14-15
Ok, so I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, and I’m hoping that each of you ladies out there does too. After practice, patience and a whole lot of prayer, maybe someday our spouses and children will “rise up” and “call us blessed.” (Proverbs 31:28)
For our family, this dream of attaining the Proverbs 31 woman status starts with food. It’s all about who’s making the food, who they are making the food for, meeting the family’s physical needs in the most enjoyable manner, etc. My cooking is how I show my love and how I take care of those I love. With this in mind, I’d like to offer just a few tricks to successful meal planning.
1) Visualize what you want out of cooking.
- Do you want to cook meals a set number of days?
- Do you want to prepare meals that are process free?
- Do you want to have a stash of freezer/pantry meals that you can prepare for your family in 5 minutes? Or perhaps have available in case of emergency for someone in need?
- Do you want to save money by eating out less?
- Do you want to save money by NOT wasting food?
- Do you want to meal plan so that you only have to shop once or twice a month instead of weekly?
Once you have exhausted yourself, go through and prioritize.
2) Now that you know what you want out of cooking, gather your planner, sales paper and your recipes (books, cards, etc). Sit down with the planner and decide how many meals you are going to serve your family at home this week. Consult your recipes and match them up to the time you have available the nights you plan to serve home cooked meals. Flip through the sales paper to get ideas of cost savings on needed items. Make a list of what you need from the store to make this plan work.
3) When you go to the store, do not deviate from the list. Avoid the cookie, chip, pop aisles unless these items were specifically found on your list. If you see another item that is a really good deal, think strategically for how/when you would serve it and then replace an original listed item with the sale item. Example: Carrots for $.49/lb. Buy the carrots but drop asparagus.
4) When you cook one meal for your family, go ahead and start a second meal on another burner. It won’t take you any longer to stand at the stove and babysit/stir two pans than it will take you to do one. Cooking two meals at once will give you more free time on another night to spend some quality time with your loved ones because all you will have to do that night is heat and serve the already prepared dish.
5) Freeze any leftovers you have for later. Veggies can be used in soups/stews. Meat can easily be converted to tacos or wraps for snacks. Remember that God has given you what you have and He has entrusted you to be a good steward of those resources. Practice the old saying, “Waste not, want not.”
What are your favorite meal planning tricks? How are you learning to becoming the Proverbs 31 Woman?