Meal planning takes on a whole new vibe now that my spouse has left for an 11-week deployment on the USN Comfort Hospital Ship. I don’t mean to say it’s easier, just different because my audience has shifted a little. Usually, I cater to our adult tastes and preferences and the kids are along for the ride. But when B is gone, I realized today that I try to use meal planning as a way to bring some control to my kids’ lives, by allowing them to choose some of their favorite dinner options. (Within reason, of course!) And they seem to appreciate it. That’s what inspires this week’s One-Parent-is-Away Meal Plans.
And BTW, you don’t have to be military to appreciate that family meals can be a source of comfort, predictability and normalcy for kids!
Sometimes my kids’ choices are a little higher-carb than I typically prefer. For example, I did already promise them brinner (breakfast-for-dinner)–which means homemade pancakes or waffles–so you’ll see that on the menu below for this week.
But surprisingly, many of their favorites are some of my healthy favorites. For example, tonight they requested my Slow Cooker whole chicken sprinkled with homemade seasoning salt. I plan to roast a kobacha squash we picked up this weekend at the farm market after visiting the pumpkin patch. We’ll also have miso-roasted Brussels sprouts (because, shocker, we didn’t get around to eating them last week!)
The kids are handling the deployment like pros so far. Yes, maybe because it’s only the first week and we’re lucky we’ve only had one other long deployment in the past 13 years!
But we realize it could be a lot worse. So, we approach each day the only way we know how. We focus on and appreciate our family’s usual traditions (food-related or otherwise), which comfort us and sustain us one day at a time.
Meal Planning This Week
Monday (a holiday): Slow Cooker whole chicken with homemade Seasoning Salt (no other ingredients needed), roasted Kobacha squash and miso-roasted Brussels sprouts (recipes coming soon to the Recipe page!)
Tuesday (a busy night): Chicken Parmesan, fressh mozzarella caprese salad and roasted zucchini
Wednesday: Brinner (breakfast for dinner): I’m excited to finally try these Spelt Waffles created by my RD friend, Maria at Halsa Nutrition! I’ll serve them with a quick fresh fruit salad.
Thursday (a busy night): Leftover night
Friday: Homemade pizza night (with whole-wheat flatbread and Califlour crusts)