Do you meal plan for your family? Meal planning is a great way to stay organized! It will also save you a ton of money since you will no longer be taking those daily trips to the supermarket. That is tiring lol!
What a joy meal planning is! Nope, I am not at all serious, but it is something that has to be done. I took baby steps and gradually worked my way up to planning for the whole month. First, I was only planning for the week, which I actually did for years. Then a couple of months ago my close friend, Tara, told me that she was doing it for 2 weeks out. So I decided I would try it, anything to make my life easier as a homeschool mom of 4. Then finally, I was ready to take the next step and plan for the whole month. Sounds draining, right? It really wasn’t too bad. Planning for the month makes it easier for me. It frees up time that I could be using for something else. Who wants to brainstorm dinner ideas all the time? Not I! Not quite sure where you should start? Here is how I do it!
1. I first compile a list of my families favorite meals, recipes, main courses, side dishes, and veggies! My favorite sites to use are Allrecipes and Pinterest. I also trade ideas with my friends. I love this because they can tell me which new meals worked out great for them and vice versa.
2. Ask for suggestions based on my list. I love asking my family if they have a taste for something specific. Getting ideas from them also help make planning easier. That way when I make it they are excited about it. Who wants to hear someone say, “Oh, we have to have that tonight?!” I don’t lol.
3. Pick 2-3 quick meals per week! I usually pick two. Quick meals consist of burgers, tacos, salads, sloppy joe, etc.
4. One night every week, we have our famous “Fend For Yourself Night”. That means we do NOT order anything nor do I cook anything. There are always leftovers in the refrigerator. Search the fridge for leftovers, make yourself something (like grilled cheese), or eat cereal. There is ALWAYS something to eat, so that night, they need to figure it out for themselves. So now you are really only planning for 6 days. No leftovers or can’t find anything to eat? Homemade or frozen pizza is quick and easy. Get some frozen pizza from Costco and pop it in the oven!
5. After you’ve gotten everyone’s ideas start putting your meals on the calendar. In my house, we love spaghetti so much that we eat it every other week and there are always leftovers! Chicken teriyaki and egg fried rice are also a yummy family favorite! Those are two more meals that I always add to help take up menu space.
6. Another way to stretch meals on the calendar is to make bigger meals. Meals that will last your family two nights. Meatloaf and lasagna are two meals I can think of off the top of my head that usually last two nights.
7. Date night coming up? Going away for the weekend? Save yourself some time and cross off the days that you know you won’t be cooking! This is usually the first thing I do. I just get so excited about not cooking that I don’t even wait to eliminate those days lol.
8. Now create! I have noticed that when I plan for any amount of time that I am always revamping my meals. Sometimes you have to go with your taste buds. So don’t worry if you end up moving things around or taking things off your list. This only becomes a problem once you have already shopped for your groceries. Other than that, have fun!
If interested, I purchased my meal planning calendar from the dollar tree. They also carry them in Target’s dollar spot. Enjoy!
What are some tips you use to make meal planning easier? Please share in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Until next time…. Lady Ki