Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meal Planning 101: Make a Weekly Plan

Well, now that we've seen the benefits of meal planning, it's time to get come up with a plan.  A plan?  Easy right?  Write down a few meals for the week and take it too the store.  And next week, do the same.  And the same the week after that.  But then we get sick of planning and coming up with new ideas.  And we fall into old habits.  What if there was a tool to make meal planning easier?

Theme Nights:

We have theme nights in our house.  One night for each theme based on our own personal schedule.  Monday nights are vegetarian.  Tuesday and Thursday nights are crockpot meals or quick and easy.  Fridays we have pizza.  Planning theme nights makes it easier to focus your meals and still keep variety in your kitchen.  Some ideas include:

Meatless meals
Crockpot dishes
Italian dinners
Mexican meals
Pizza night
Grill out
Soups and sandwiches
Classic Sunday dinner

The theme nights makes it easy to plan from week to week and your grocery list will look similar each time.  Because I know we have pizza every week, I can stock up on pizza sauce when it's on sale.  Tortillas are another idea I look for... great for tacos, enchiladas, and casseroles.

To keep some variety in our meals, I sat down with my husband and we brainstormed 4-5 meals that fit each category.  After 10 years of marriage, we have tried a lot of recipes.  Some have been really good.  I keep that list in mind when I plan my theme nights each week.  It takes the guess work out of plugging in meals.  And I can be sure to add some of my kids' favorites as well.

Another thing you could do would be to create 4 or 5 sample menus and rotate them throughout the month.  This really makes meal planning easy.  Pull out a menu on Sunday night and you're all set for the week.  These are just a few of the tools I use to make my meal planning simpler.

What other creative ideas have you used in meal planning?

*Linked to these Parties

1 comment:

Patrice said...

Great idea - I've been using the menus on!

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