My new meal planning system
I took the Food Nanny's basic ideas (using a 2 week meal planner with themed nights/meals and a shopping list) and changed it a bit to fit our family.
While I do like using my iPhone for lots of organizational things like to-do lists and calendar items, I have so far really enjoyed printing hard copies of these lists and putting them on a big clipboard to keep at home and when I go shopping.
|As you can see, I have left some room to add more recipes as we try out new things.|
1. The very best thing I did was make a list of all of our favorite meals. I made a list of basic themes that our meals generally fall in to and then went through all my recipe boards and cookbooks and added our favorite regular meals to the master list. This is the most important part of my new meal planning system because having all our meals in our list is so helpful! I've done various types meal planning before but was always having to flip through all my books and boards to find what we like and would get overwhelmed very quickly. Now I can scan through our favorites easily since they are all in one place!
|I need to start doing this in pencil!|
2. After using her meal plan once, I made my own to fit my big handwriting. :) It's actually exactly like hers, just less fancy.
|This list is about halfway done.|
3. Again, after using her shopping list once, I made my own shopping list too. After a couple of years of going to the same grocery store, I have a pretty set pattern that I follow. So having my own categories made more sense.
The result? I have meals planned out 2 weeks in advance! I grocery shop less. (One big trip every two weeks and 1 smaller one each week for produce, milk and eggs.) I'm not panicking every afternoon about what we are going to eat for dinner. I just look at the plan and set out anything that needs to thaw. I even plan out our "simple nights" of grilled cheese or whatever, thus there is no guilt that I'm not feeding my family super well because I know that tomorrow night will be fancier/healthier. And if I don't feel like making the meal I have planned for that night, I have several others to choose from. So I don't stick exactly to this plan, but I know I have everything in the house I need for all the meals on the plan. I feel so much less stress about meal planning now! The next things I want to add to my system are a weekly planned baking day for bread and granola, a planned day to do in-advance meal prep like frozen dinners etc and a night for Nate to cook :).
What things have helped you feel less stressed about dinner and meal planning?