I decided while I was visiting my parents that I needed to try meal planning again, and take it seriously. I've tried and failed several times before, and I don't know what's gone wrong. But now that I have a baby on the way, I want to make a real effort to get in the habit of eating things other than hot dogs and macaroni & cheese. And a few days into my successful meal plan, I discovered another reason to eat a more balanced diet: apparently in this month of pregnancy, the fetus starts "tasting" what I eat, and what I eat now and while breastfeeding can affect what he'll be willing to eat in the future. So guess who's gonna be eating more vegetables now?
I know it's only been one week, but I think I've discovered the key to success. I plan with more detail, while leaving more wiggle room. I set aside a day once every two weeks to do plan the next two weeks of meals, noting which nights I work and planning around that. On nights I work, Brit cooks. On nights I'm free, I cook. And on nights AFTER I work, I plan on something super easy, or a crock pot meal that can cook while I sleep. And I leave one or two days each week open for "whatever" meals, and wiggle room if meals get pushed around. And then I look at what ingredients I need that I don't have, what's most immediately perishable, and plan shopping trips accordingly as well.
I've gotten through one week so far. Things got pushed around a little, when I canceled a meal or two and got sick of too much beef too many days in a row, but it WORKED. It's pretty stressful to have to sit down and plan out two weeks of meals... it's definitely an all-day adventure, and I need to get over my aversion to repeating meals... but it is SO NICE to not be having the 15 minute "conversation" every night about what's for dinner, and having something green only on special occassions. Or when Brit has gummy bears.
Hopefully this will last. I'm still in the process of planning for the next couple of weeks... feel free to make suggestions!