What’s Cooking? How to Automate Your Day

“What’s Cooking?: How to Automate Your Day”

My greatest fear is happening.  I’m becoming my mother!  All of us dreaded to hear our mother’s nag about the same things over and over again or to hear one more lesson about life that we thought only applied in the “olden days.”  My mother was no different.  She would share her wisdom with me about how to make life simple for myself but I couldn’t relate so it didn’t matter to me.  My mom was an athlete and the youngest of six children.  If anyone on this earth had a bit of arrogance and was totally spoiled, it was my mom.  She bragged about being the baby and the apple of her papa’s eye.  Since she was so spoiled she didn’t have to learn about homemaking as most young ladies of the south did during that time.  She was playing basketball and watching her older siblings do all the work around the house.

When my mother married my father she did not know how to cook at all.  She said that she could burn water.  I didn’t realize she lacked the cooking skills that a North Carolina-born woman should have because she cooked every day.  She picked up a few key recipes along the way and put them in her “play book.”  Those were her go-to meals and she mastered them over time.  As I child I could not appreciate this.  I was so tired of “meatloaf Monday”, “Taco Tuesday”, spaghetti on Wednesday, fried chicken on Thursday, fish on Friday, and Rice-a-Roni on Saturday I didn’t know what to do!!  Sunday was a little special because we would have either a baked chicken or a roast so that would spice things up a bit.

As a “working out of the home mom” now myself, I finally appreciate this automation.  Most days I have no clue what I’m going to fix for dinner and I’ve given my family way too much fast food for my taste!  My family just started watching the sitcom “The Middle” and watching Frankie put fast food on plates to feed her family each night is just hilarious.  I can identify except I don’t break out the china to eat McDonalds or Subway!  Since families rarely eat together these days, I guess eating Subway around the table is better than not talking or eating together at all.

What about our health?  Are we able to play to our greatest potential if we haven’t prepared our bodies to do so?  Growing up my household meals were so automated that our bodies knew what to expect and could keep us all at optimal health.  My parents ate the same thing for breakfast daily and only changed up a bit on weekends or when we would go on vacation.  My father never overloaded his plate and since he didn’t “work on a farm” he felt that he didn’t need to eat like a farmer.  They knew portion control and even when we ate out they would share their food.  I thought that was weird growing up as well but now I realize that it not only was romantic and an intimate thing they did, it was also economical and health-conscious.  I watched my parents split a baked potato, share a small (yes, I said small) French fry, get a fried fish dinner but split one piece of fish and save the other two for later, and even split a soda!

So maybe there’s no one in your life that you want to share food with in this manner or splitting a baked potato seems cruel but this type of automation and self-control made less stress for my mother on a daily basis.  I’ve decided it’s time to throw in the towel with guessing what I’m going to eat every week and create a bit of automation that may result in a whittled waist and money in the bank.  Here are 3 plays to live by that may create some sanity in your home:


  1. Eating the same meals every week isn’t so bad. – Unless you plan to be a chef on one of those cooking reality shows then finding 10 good healthy meals that you can master will help you plan better and reduce your daily stress.  Knowing what you’ll eat and when you will eat it will eliminate guesswork and temptation.  Research shows that it takes two weeks of repetitive action to make the action become automated.   I plan to adopt this automation so my girls will understand the importance of planning their meals before they get out on their own.  Just like my mother, I didn’t learn how to cook before I left home so I plan to do a better job preparing my daughters.


  1. Automation is key to weight loss. – My parents never suffered from being overweight. Their bodies knew what to expect and my mom could prepare her meals in a way that were healthy and nutritious.  We would eat desserts on special occasions.  They never felt that it was required to have cakes or pies with every meal (I also discovered that my mom really couldn’t bake either so that probably added to this fact).  Most people that lose weight do so because they know what they are eating at all times of the day.  I took that fact for granted growing up because I was bored with what my mother served.  I didn’t realize that she was doing me a favor and setting me up with healthy habits.


  1. Eating at home saves your waist and your wallet. – If I have to stop at a drive thru, check my bag to see how many things they got wrong this time and then drive home, I could have made a simple 30-minute meal that could have been on the table just as quickly as the fast food and half the calories. Knowing the ingredients that I put in my food is much better than taking a chance on all the harsh chemicals and additives that are in fast food and restaurant food. So many people suffer from allergies because of the changes in the makeup of our food now that It’s just safer for us to make our meals at home.   In addition, if I added up the amount of money I spend on eating out, I probably could be on a nice cruise with my family right now.

Needless to say, it’s nice to eat out sometimes and have other people prepare your meals but there is nothing that beats home cooking and planning your meals to keep your family healthy, fit, and full!

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