We have 4 children. While we lived in the "sticks and bricks" of 23 years, each of those 4 children had a large number of friends. Life on our small farm was always - lively - to say the least. Our kids were very socially active and for some reason, they liked to congregate at our house with their friends. Throwing down dinner for 10-15 people was usually a weekly occurrence for me, if not more often. We had quite the grocery bill! I baked and I cooked... a LOT.
Fast forward a few years, life could not be more different. The kids grew up and started their own lives and now have families of their own. Todd and I sometimes still feel the reverberations from having so many lives ricocheting around in our home. It always makes us smile and laugh, such wonderful memories! They would be surprised at how much we just sit and reminisce about our life as parents of 4 busy youngsters. But now life is different. It's simpler. More simple? However you say it, that's what we love about fulltiming. We have the white space in our lives to be able to "savor" life more as opposed to "getting through the day" as life often dictated when our house was so full.
Meal time has been an enormous transition for me. I STILL find myself reaching for the "jumbo pack" of items because it is economical and easier, and have to restrain myself and remember I cannot FIT that package in my RV, let alone hope to consume it all! Smaller is the ticket. Buy the tiny pack of chicken pieces with only 5 pieces of chicken in it! Wow, what a concept! One head of lettuce, the small jar of peanut butter (bonus: Your knuckles don't get peanut butter on the small jar when it's nearly gone! Ha!) Obviously there is no "savings" if you end up throwing out a portion of the jumbo pack before using it all.
I decided that in order to keep my sanity about meal planning in the small confines of the RV kitchen (and they are all small, just some are smaller than others!) I needed to scale back my strategy somewhat. We no longer have elaborate, multi-course dinners. We only eat a main course and ONE side dish (like a veggie or a salad). This has been a wonderful improvement to our over-indulgent eating habit, most Americans eat way too much, and it's much easier to eat healthy.
For example, last night we simply had two small grilled steaks and a generous helping of roasted brussels sprouts. What our meals lack in variety, we make up in serving size. You cannot eat too many veggies, this is healthy for you. We are very conscious of what we eat these days. We try to limit how often we ask our bodies to process unhealthy food that we do not get nutrition from. This improved way of eating makes that SO much easier and more natural.
The other thing we have decided is that life is too short not to eat what you LOVE every day. We have made a pact that we will NEVER AGAIN sit down to a dinner of something that we don't really like all that much because it was "on sale" or for any other reason. So now when I meal plan I simply shop for a few pieces of meat that we love, and a heaping portions of fresh veggies that we love to go with it, and I'm done.
Becoming a Fulltimer means a lot of adjustment in ways that you might not have planned. Think carefully about your lifestyle and your daily routine and make sure that you aren't trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It might be a good plan to NOT try to fit your "house" lifestyle into your new "RV" lifestyle. Sometimes the most helpful changes hide behind "old habits". We continue to learn from others, and I like to share things that we have had success with in the same spirit. I would love to hear about any of your meal planning adjustments that you have discovered since hitting the road!