Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meal Plan Tip #1

Most people that I have talked to get super overwhelmed thinking about making a meal plan every week and really don't know where to start. Honestly, I was too at the beginning. I would spend hours pouring through cookbooks, food magazines, etc to find meals that I could make for the week.

 Eventually it got easier because I saved the recipes in a binder that became our favorites and we would cycle through those frequently. I was committed to making at least 2 meals a week that we had never tried before. I'm just not into doing Meatloaf Mondays, Pork Roast Tuesdays, etc. That sounds so BLAH to me. 

Anyways, if you are one of those people that gets overwhelmed about making a meal plan, my best advice to you is start small. Try a couple recipes from the ones I have shared on this blog. Only make a meal plan for maybe three days or just for the weekend. That will seem like less of a burden. Believe me, it WILL get easier once you get in the habit of doing one. You will probably ask yourself, "Why didn't I do this sooner?"

How do I make a meal plan? On my meal plan I usually only do dinners. Breakfast for us is usually the same types of things like cereal, yogurt with granola, bagels, or pancakes. Lunch is usually either leftovers, Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, or I make something up from the things we have in the fridge (usually it will be some kind of a stir-fry dish). I always buy salad materials, because I'm a big fan of either having one for lunch or with our dinner. We do our shopping on Mondays. I make a meal plan either Sunday night or Monday morning.

It will look something like this:

On most weeks, my goal is to go shopping one time, and that's it. Weekdays is when I like to make a "new" meal or one of our favorites because that's when my husband Travis has had a long day at work, and he looks forward to coming home to a nice home cooked dinner. Weekends are usually something simple like quesadillas, something that I froze from last week's meal, etc.

For those of you that are avid meal planners, what do you do? Do you plan for 1 week, 1 month, etc? Do you have a program on the computer that you use to meal plan? Where do you get your meals from? Magazines, online, old family favorites? I would love to hear from you!



Rachel said...

My biggest hurdle in planning is the shopping. Once I find a recipe that I think will work, I always forget that one ingredient... the one that *makes* the dish.
How do you organize your shopping?

The Rhodes Family said...

That's a great question Rachel! That's happens to me too, and then I have to google the ingredients to see what I can replace it with. :)
Because I do my meal plan usually the night before, I write up my shopping list right next to it or sometimes on the back of the meal plan. That way I make sure to get all the ingredients from the meal plan dinners.
On my shopping list I organize the items by where in the store I will go first, second, etc. So, for me produce is usually first, so I will list that at the top then underneath or next to that I do meats, then dairy, etc.
I hope that helps!

McClure Family said...

I meal plan a lot! I don't have a set "on Monday we are having..." . When I am writing out my grocery list I also wright a meal list and then cross of whatever I have cooked. I look at what I have in the pantry and then decide based on recipes what I need for the week. I also try to keep a few staple things in the pantry each week to avoid fast food. Like everything for raviolis and such. I'm really enjoying your web site! :)

Caitlin said...

I meal plan on Monday's during my lunch break so that when I go shopping after work I'm all ready! My new favorite habit has been to check out a different cookbook from the library for a month or two find all the good stuff, test them out and copy them down if I want to keep them. Keeps things always changing. Thanks for the inspiration!


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