Day 28: Meal Planning
That age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” can be downright stressful at times. Especially on hectic nights when the household needs to be in 13 different places, at the same time. And everyone’s hungry — at the same time.
Of course, I’m overstating. Usually, it’s not 13. But it feels like that sometimes.
The question itself doesn’t cause stress. It only causes anxiety if you’ve nothing planned. Or at least a couple of options up your sleeve.
Which is exactly why I meal plan. I recently wrote an article on specifics of meal planning and what’s worked for me. You can read that article here if you’d like.
Simple Tips for Meal Planning
1. Keep it simple
Especially if you’re new to meal planning, or even if you’re a veteran, keeping the plan simple ensures the likelihood of following your plan.
2. Pair Down the Ingredients
For busy nights, choose recipes that have few ingredients or are pantry staples.
3. Theme Nights
Adopting theme nights your family likes is an easy way to remember and implement quick meals; Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, and so on.
4. Consult Sources
Several go-to websites have weekly meal plan ideas.
Double-batch cook when possible. For instance, if you’re serving lasagna one night, it’s just as easy to make two. One for now, one for later. If you purchase a rotisserie chicken one night, buy 2, serve one for dinner, shred the second and freeze. Perfect for soups, enchiladas, salads and so much more.
Organize a space to meal plan. The Control Center is the perfect location for meal planning. Calendars and schedules are located there. Keep an indexed recipe card file for tried and true recipes your family loves, a binder for recipes you’ve printed from the internet and want to try — or recipes you’re creating yourself. Stock at least 10 copies of a meal planning calendar and create a list of “family favorites,” for quick reference.
Schedule a specific time and day to meal plan. The more you do it, the easier and quicker it will become.
Objective: to create a meal planning center, stocked and ready for meal plans
• Decide where you want to meal plan. Create a tab in your working files in the area and label it meal plans.
• Locate your recipe card file, a couple of cooking magazines you refer to often, and internet recipes you’ve printed and want to try.
• Print off at least 10 blank calendars or meal planning calendars. Here’s ours.
• Create a “Family Favorite” list of meals. Here’s ours.
• Schedule a day and time that works best for you to meal plan. Sunday afternoons might work great.
• Plan a meal!
GET THE BOOK:
Easy Steps to an Organized Life in 31 Days or Less (Amazon.com)