When did taking care of one of our most basic needs become so complicated? Eating, it’s something we all need to do on a daily basis, multiple times, yet most of us suffer some form of stress over the meal routine. From the shopping, planning, preparing, and even cleaning up, food and meals are a major drain.
If you suffer from meal planning dilemmas or even just want to reevaluate how you manage your household meals, then this advice may just be your cup of tea. What may surprise you is I’m going to ask you to first pull out your Bible (or favorite Bible app, I absolutely love mine!). Now, get ready to highlight, save, pin, or whatever you need to do so you can be reminded of these verses.
Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” Luke 12:22-24 NLT
Many people have read this passage or can refer to these verses in reference to anxiety. That’s exactly how I always thought of these words from Jesus. But now, as a busy wife and mom to three young children the encouragement runs a little deeper. I feel like we (especially as Americans) can get so obsessed with expectations and perfectionism. Life is more than food and your Pinterest recipe board.
Yes, I believe we should be good stewards of not only our budgets but also our bodies. We should be mindful what we feed ourselves and our families. But it’s not worth getting stressed about what meal is being served. I’m not a theologist or a nutritionist. However, my experience has taught me that some seasons are harder than others. Sometimes the budget is much thinner than expected. Children come and they grow and in all that meals change a lot. Physical and mental illnesses can play much larger roles than what any of us give credit.
“What’s for dinner?” is possibly one of the most dreaded questions a wife and mother can encounter. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As we see from the passage in Luke, I truly believe Jesus does not want us to worry about food.
In our family, we’ve adopted a very simple meal plan. Sometimes I will write it down to have the visual reminder and sometimes I don’t. It does help to have at least a week written on the calendar, but I’ve learned not to stress if it’s not done. That’s another benefit of such a simple plan.
So, what exactly does this plan entail? I have a handful of meals I know my family will absolutely always eat. We will have at least one of these through the week. One night is guaranteed to be a leftovers night. We try to use dinner leftovers for lunches when possible, but we always manage to have something left in the fridge that needs to be eaten. One night is almost always pizza/going out to eat night.
Also, to put this in perspective, one of the guaranteed meals is frozen chicken nuggets with fries/tater tots and steamable corn/veggies. This is part of my season in life. Not everything has to be from scratch. It doesn’t have to be grand. It doesn’t have to be out of this world healthy or a rainbow of variety. However, it does save my sanity to have a plan even if it is as simple as pulling these items out of the freezer and popping them in the oven and microwave. I don’t have to worry about my kids not liking/eating something I spent good money/time/effort on.
Another of our simple go-to meals is pancakes or waffles, eggs/sausage, and fresh fruit. We love breakfast for dinner. Spaghetti is another favorite. I try to have some sort of fresh or frozen fruit or veggie with whatever we are eating. Our plate may only have two food items on it. And that’s okay. Your meals may look different, and that’s okay too. Take Jesus’ advice, don’t worry!