What’s for Dinner?

It’s the question that plagues me day after day…because let’s face it, I suck at self-nourishment.  On a good day I marginally qualify as an adult.

That may describe you too.

But you still have to eat.

As a single woman with a history of moderately disordered eating I have a different set of challenges than a family when it comes to feeding myself.  I don’t like leftovers.  In fact I can barely tolerate cooking at all these days, so I find myself shopping exclusively in the frozen dinners aisle which, in addition to being gross, is expensive.  Having spent most of this year trying to find a job, I’m not exactly rolling in money, so my sky-high grocery bills are a problem.

Obviously I have to start cooking again – aside from the cost, my health has suffered from so much crap food.

My diet is already a roller coaster (just like me).  Often people with bipolar undergo something called Social Rhythm Therapy that is based on the very sound idea that mood imbalances benefit from routine.  With that concept in mind, I started looking for solutions involving meal planning.  I do horribly when left to decide from night to night what to make; if I’m hungry, I get panicky, and end up ordering pizza out of sheer overwhelm.

Thus, I took to the internet.  As I mentioned in my last post I was looking at daily checklists and planners; well, the blogosphere abounds with organizational and planning charts and downloadables, most of which are free.  Just do an image search for “meal planner” and see where it takes you.  (I also started a household binder, but that’s another post.)  I do love a good chart, and if I could make a chore into a craft project that necessitated a trip to Office Depot, well, count me in!

Most of the planners are the same format, and while they’re cute and pretty and well-designed, they’re still a blank page that I have to somehow fill – cue the Overwhelm Fairy.  But then I happened across a system I think will work for me at Home Made by Carmona.  I mean come on, it has Post-its.  The awesomeness is built right in.  Carmona includes a video on how to use her system, but it’s not difficult – you have a page where you stick Post-its of the various dinners you make, a page for breakfasts, et cetera; then you have a page that’s your actual planner, and you take Post-its from the idea pages and fill up the menu each week.

She graciously makes her planner available both as a finished pdf and an editable Word document; naturally I took full advantage of the latter.  My planner’s going in a special binder for something I’m working on, and I wanted it to be pretty, so I took her basic design and created this:

menu planner
The planner page itself.  Yes, it’s pink.  I’m embracing my inner pink when it comes to arts and crafts and fun things.  Yes, I’m aware they can take your Scorpio membership card away for using pink – but this doesn’t count.  I’m doing it ironically.  Yeah.  Sure.
dinner ideas pg1
One of the dinner pages. I have two dinner pages, two for sides, and one for breakfast. I didn’t really think I needed a dessert page.  No, they’re not perfect, but I’m quite fond of how the whole thing turned out.  I like looking at it, and that’s a big step in the right direction.

If you want to try designing something like this yourself, I highly recommend Carmona’s templates as a place to start; if you like mine, you can download the whole packet in pdf format.  (I recommend you laminate the pages so your Post-its will have a longer life after multiple stickings.) But like I said, the internet is full of menu planners, so if you want something more decorative, there are plenty of them out there:

A colorful planner from Green Child, and a more neutrally-colored option

A more tactile version from Dare to DIY

A chalkboard inside-the-cupboard-door planner on Pinterest

A framed dry-erase alternative

An adorable and free knockoff of an overpriced Anthropologie planner.

There’s a really, really cute one here using a graphic of a cafeteria tray.

And if you’re really ambitious, a full month’s worth of dinners.

 

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One thought on “What’s for Dinner?

  1. I worked at a buffet and there was an old couple that came in there everyday and that ass that how clean you eat here every day they said it was cheaper and they didn’t have to cook so figure you spend $10 and day at a buffet that would only be 70 dollars a week and you would never have to cook and you could also minded are what you eat

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