I am perpetually exhausted running after my 2 yr old and really need to learn to plan meals and structure time so I can cook but also spend quality time with my son.
Right now I decide on the day what I am cooking and end up shopping almost every day and cooking with my son pulling me to come play or when he naps so I get NO time for me ever!!!!
I am perpetually exhausted and stressed and feel rushed all the time...
Also, I am so exhausted my poor son ends up eating the same dishes over and over...
Don't even know how to begin-please help!!!!!!
I'd start by making a list of things you like to eat. Then pick out a week's worth.
Shopping really depends on what works best for you, but I shop sales and stock up. Then I can plan meals from what we already have in the house. But you can just plan meals and then make 1 shopping trip to get everything you need as well.
Start by making/buying a calendar to write down your plan. Then come up with a list of meals you like/want to try. Then assign them to days, based on their comlexities and your schedule for that day. For example, if I have a day I just know will be super hectic, we have leftovers or something super simple, like cabbage and rice.
One thing I did when I just started out was assign each day a theme. Monday-Beef, Tuesday-Pasta Wednesday-Leftovers Thursday-Pork Friday-Fish and so on. I don't do it that way anymore, but it was a great way to start out.
It sounds like you need to think about not just what you are going to be making for dinner each night, but when you can be preparing it. My DS is also 2 and I have found that if I start prepping little things for dinner early in the day then by dinnertime when he is most likely to be ready for a meltdown I need to spend very little time away from him. I mean really early in the day. WHile he is sitting down for snack at 10 AM, I get tonight's salad totally made. This way he is distracted by food already so he isn't trying to get at what I am making, and even if he wants to try something it is an acceptable time for him to be eating it. (I found that when I was rushing to get dinner ready right before dinnertime, he would constantly want bits of whatever I was preparing and then not eat a good dinner, and then not sleep well.)
I would recommend that you think of things that can either be made in their entirety early in the day and then reheated later without having lost any of their appeal (soups, sauces) or things that can be totally assembled and then just need to be popped into the oven at the correct time (casserole, lasagne, etc.).
I usually cook dinner for one night and lunch for the next day....or for example - grilled chicken breasts for dinner, then chopped into salads for my DH to take to work for the next 5 days....I just wanted to add - i did most of my cooking with my DD 'helping' - my DS had far less patience - i used a backpack style carrier and carried him around the kitchen on my back while i prepared dinner most nights. He adored it.
Happy at Home Mama to DD 4/95 DS 4/98 and DS#2 8/10
We are a bit different, because we eat our "big" meal around noon time. I cook one big meal, and then for supper in the evening we have leftovers or salads or sandwiches and such. Before we had the big meal at noon, I still only cooked one meal. Our lunch was always a non cooked meal.
Whenver the food is running low in the house ( usually 7-10 days after grocery shopping) I sit down and plan 7-10 days worth of dinners out. Then I make my grocery list and grocery shop and then we are all set for a week or so. I HATE going to the grocery store and I only ever go in the evening when dh is home or on weekends. I don't have the patience to grocery shop with my 2 kids. It works well for me because then I only have to go to the store at most once a week. In the am's I usually defrost the meat and throughout the day I will start prepping- make the salad, chop the meat, assemble the cassarole etc. I hate doing everything last min and my kids are usually the worst between 4-5 pm anyways so its helpful to have most of the prep work already done.
We usually eat salad ( for our veggie not as the meal) for the first few days post grocery shopping and then frozen veggies the last few days till its time to shop again.
All natural Mama to Keira 6/1/07, Israel 10/10/ 09, Nairi 04/01/2011, and #4 March 2013