The transition to fall sometimes feels messy. The casual days of summer are now behind us as we dive back into routine, structure and a cluttered calendar. While it might feel like the exact wrong time to do this, fall is actually the perfect time to get back into goal-setting and be more intentional about how we spend our time. And that’s exactly why we’re choosing this season to get back into meal planning.
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Meal planning had always been a goal of ours. Planning out family dinners makes it easier to gather around the table on busy weeknights and connect with each other. However, that goal always becomes muddled and lost in the busyness of life. Running two businesses, managing a household, being a mom – the list goes on and on. It seemed like a lost cause trying to meal prep and plan – until we discovered the most effective planning and goal-setting tool ever: Full Focus Planners.
(We’re not kidding; Jenna has been quoted to say her Full Focus Planner has been “life changing!”)
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Meal Planning for a Deeper Purpose
Full Focus Planners have hands-down been the best solution we’ve found to achieving bigger goals that can sometimes feel elusive and too big to pin down. Instead of simply providing space for to-do lists and schedule reminders, Full Focus Planners go deeper and help you get to the why behind a goal. Once you connect your goal to meaning and create an actionable plan – there’s no stopping you from achieving those big plans that you have.
You might also be surprised by what you discover when you dig a little deeper into the big goals you have in mind. For example, with meal planning, we thought the real reason behind it was to simplify our lives and not have to worry about figuring out dinner every week night. And, while yes, meal planning does make our lives simpler, that’s not the deeper reason we seek to do it. The more profound reason is to connect with our loved ones. But to get to that, we really had to sit with our thoughts, and ask ourselves why do we want to achieve this goal. Our Full Focus Planners helped us to discover our why – and that’s the first step in a journey to achieving your bigger objectives.
5 Steps to Getting Back to Family Dinners Around the Table
1.) Create a list of go-to family meals.
When it comes to meal planning, you want to automate as much as you can. If you have to spend time every week racking your brain for recipes to make, it’s not doing to be conducive to making meal planning work. So, we encourage you to think about you and your family’s favorite go-to meals and create a list that you can always reference. This will save you time and energy when preparing for family meals!
For us, we have several go-tos, but we especially love Nana’s Taco Soup (on left) and Easy Weeknight Fall Chili (on right) because they’re simple, absolutely delicious, and super easy to whip up.
2.) Choose a theme for each night of the week.
Sticking with the idea of automating what you can with meal planning, assign a theme for each weekday night. For example, Meatless (or Meat) Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, and Italian Wednesdays. This will take some of the thinking out of meal planning (which is the goal!) and guide you as you choose meals for each night. And, of course, switch up the meal choice each week. For example, we might make lasagna on the first Wednesday of the month, followed by Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs the next Wednesday. By doing this, the same themes each week won’t ever feel overdone or stale and your family will look forward to special recipes shared together. (Honestly, though, we could make Nana’s Meatballs every Wednesday and never get tired of them!)
Also, if you like to incorporate new recipes into your family dinners, designate one night a week for a new meal! This will allow you to express your culinary creativity but have a specific night planned out for it, cutting down on stress.
3.) Plan out the month.
Now that you’ve done the prep work of having go-to meals and choosing weeknight themes, it’s time to sit down with these resources and your Full Focus Planner! We like to plan a month at a time, which is easy to do when you have themes and go-to meals. In addition, planning a month at a time means this isn’t a weekly task that you need to add to your to-do list, again freeing up your time.
In addition to a monthly calendar, Full Focus Planners also have pages that help you to write down a goal and then make an actionable plan to achieve that goal.
Here’s a page out of Jenna’s planner centered on her reasoning for meal planning to help you get an idea of what that it look like for you!
Jenna’s Goal Detail
Get back to the table, habit goal
Summary: I want to connect with my loved ones.
Domains: Parental, Intellectual, Social, Emotional, Marital
Key Motivations, ranked
1- Build deeper relationships
4- Make memories
3- Express gratitude
2- Learn more about my people
5- Build a legacy
Next Steps (Jenna’s Actionable Plan)
Make a list of family meals.
Choose a theme for each night.
Plan out the month.
Declutter the pantry.
Grocery shop on Fridays.
As you can see, Full Focus Planners help you go beyond a one-sentence goal. It asks you to figure out the reason why you want to achieve this goal, how it’ll enrich your life (and those around you), and how you’re going to go about making it all happen. We couldn’t be happier with the results of this deeper-reason method of planning!
4.) Declutter your pantry and refrigerator.
Now that you’ve planned out your meals, make sure you’re set up for success by starting with a clean slate when it comes to your pantry and refrigerator. Make sure any expired food is tossed, organize & categorize similar items (cans with cans, cereals with cereals, etc.), and wipe down the shelves. Taking these simple steps will help you find the foods you need easily and help you see what you might still need for recipes quickly. (Check out our 6 Pantry Organizing Hacks for more ideas & inspiration!)
5.) Carve out time for grocery shopping.
With the theme of automating what you can, determine when it’s best for you to grocery shop. For Jenna, she has long been a Friday grocery shopper, and she schedules this into her Fridays every week. Take a look at your schedule and choose a day that you can work grocery shopping in, and schedule it into your day like you would an appointment. Choosing a specific day to go grocery shopping will allow you to stay consistent with having the ingredients you need to put your meal planning into action. (If you find yourself in a pinch, you can always consider grocery delivery services, such as Instacart and Amazon!)
Preserving Relationships This Fall
Though your goals might look like “meal planning,” consider what you are seeking to achieve through your goal. Yes, we want to meal plan, but why? Meal planing gives us the ability to sit around the dinner table, even on a busy weeknight, and connect with our people. When you scratch the surface of your goals, you might be surprised to see that it’s really all about strengthening and preserving the relationships in your life. And, it all starts with the people within your four walls. This fall, remember that meal planning is actually about those relationships that mean the most to you. An effective planner is the first step in the journey to finding your deeper goals and achieving those bigger dreams.
So, want to get to meal planning and preserving your relationships with loved ones? Full Focus Planner embraces the deeper purpose and your big goals, encouraging you to break down the why, connecting it all to meaning, and helping you create an actionable plan to lead you to success. (And, don’t forget to use the link above to enjoy 10% off your planner!) We’re so excited for you to get back to the table this season.
Hap-bee meal planning, friend!
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