Now that we are in the heat of the summer, I am reminded of how important it is to have a solid dinner plan during the summer months. This is the time of year when hopefully our schedules slow down, the kids have less activities, and meals are simple and often cooked outside on the grill. I love that about summer and the down time it brings to all our busy lives. My motto in our house during summer is “Its summer time and the living is easy!” and the kids and I repeat this often.
I find that having a plan for dinner during the week in the summer is as important as it is during the school year. Even though our lives slow down, we still have to get a healthy meal on the table each and every night and that means having a plan, even if your plan is to grill every night of the week! I also am not fond of hitting the grocery store with 3 kids in tow. I end up spending more (3 kids against one mother is not a good ratio!) and it takes me much, much longer. I therefore plan my trips to the grocery store either very early in the am or later at night so I can go it alone. Since I only want to do this once a week tops, I HAVE to have a plan. The flexibility to swing by the grocery store on a Tuesday at 1:00 pm to pick up some groceries before the kids get home from school is not there during the summer, making the plan more important than ever.
A few days after school ended this year I found myself in the aisles of our local grocery store with 3 boys while trying to think through what I needed for the upcoming week-a major challenge! I slipped for one week by not doing a list, with all the craziness of the end of the school year, and I paid for it (literally so at the register) for not having a solid plan. It was no surprise I was back a few days later to get the items I forgot. Its summer and I want to limit the amount of time I spend at the grocery store!
I now am back to using our organized lists at the start of every week and make sure I get to the grocery store once and only once-the key to keeping food costs low. Even if my plan for dinner is sandwiches one night or burgers on the grill, I don’t skimp on having a plan. The alternative is being in the store on a Monday am with 3 children trying to negotiate their favorite snack foods and a cart full of impulse purchases. Many people tell me their grocery bills actually go up in the summer months and I would bet a more casual attitude towards planning is part of it.
After a long day out with the kids at the pool, the beach or when they come home from camp, the last thing I want to think about is “What’s for Dinner”?? on the drive home. I want to be able to say we are having Grilled Orange & Soy Chicken with Fruit Salad and Rice and better yet, all the ingredients are in the kitchen ready to go from when I shopped earlier in the week. Now that is in line with our family’s theme of “Its Summer Time and the Living is Easy”!!