meal planning 101

I usually love to cook dinner! Though I do have a little more time as a stay at home momma and truly do enjoy cooking, meal planning gets all the credit for my dinnertime ease! Years ago I would stare at the kitchen with no clue what to make, trips to the grocery store were frequent, and variety was lacking. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on for my most basic meal planning tips:

1) Plan and record a week long menu. Sit down with your cookbooks AND your calendar so that you can choose recipes that are appropriate for each day - maybe you have a lazy Saturday so you can prepare that time consuming meal you’ve been craving or perhaps you have a time crunched Tuesday and you need to plan a quick, simple meal.

* Don’t forget to plan all parts of the meal for each day. I like to use the rule of 3: a main dish, which may or may not include meat, plus two sides. Your sides do not have to be fancy - simply roasting or steaming fresh or frozen veggies will be tasty, healthy, and low maintenance!

2) Make the week’s grocery list as you plan your meals. If you can remember the lay-out of your grocery store write your list in the appropriate order. Hopefully this trip will be your only grocery stop all week, though you may need to make an extra trip for fresh fruits and veggies or unexpected items.

* Remember to add any additional food you may need during the week: snack items, work or school lunches, special holidays or celebrations taking place during the week, etc.

3) Post your completed menu and get the groceries. Place the menu on your fridge, a bulletin board, or wherever it is easy for you and your family to take a quick peek. Know that, on occasion, you may have to deviate from your menu and that’s OK!

To get you started, I've created some fun menu templates using picnik! To download: right click on the image and choose “copy”. Then, paste the menu into your favorite word processing program, adjust the size to your preference, print and get planning! Want to save some trees? Print 2-3 menus per page and use the back of the previous week’s menu to jot down your grocery list!

Does the task still seem a bit overwhelming? Get your feet wet by checking out a meal planning blog which offers a weekly menu for you to copy! For a list of options, do an online search using the keywords weekly meal planning blog.

Please let me know if you have any questions, a tip to share, or if you are going to give meal planning a try! And, I'll see you back here Thursday with a recipe that will quickly become one of your favorites!

P.S. I'm guest posting about the very same topic over at Going Home to Roost today!


Kristina said...

Great post Jes! These methods have really helped me also. I have used an awesome planner for years now. It has everything a busy mom needs. Here's the link if anyone would like to check it out...(the one I use is the Family Organizer Spiral Bound)but they also have other great products. https://www.familyorganizer.com/products.aspx

oh, buckets' blog said...

thanks for stopping by, Kristina!

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