Sunday, March 7, 2010

Meal Planning

A lot of blogs and books that I have read talk about meal planning. Basically you fill out a calendar, be it weekly or monthly, of meals that you plan to make. I have tried this so many times.

Being that I am really organized, I have no problem filling it out and even putting what I would need from the grocery store (only fresh items - not meats or pantry stuff as I buy that before I need it with coupons and sales) on a nice little post-it.

The problem is: I never want what I put on the calendar that day. And if we don't make the meal I feel like I am completely out of whack. I am the type that if I write it all out I want it to go perfectly.

My solution to this waste of my time and feeling like I wasn't being "perfect" when I didn't follow it was to stock my pantry and freezer and keep a few fresh items (bell peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, fruits) on hand each week so that I could make almost any meal any night of the week.

Usually the night before or the morning of I will lay out the meat I intend to use (I alternate chicken a couple of times and then beef). Then I will ask my husband what he wants for dinner using that meat. Sometimes I give him a couple of choices (ie If it is chicken, "Do you want something like Chicken Pot Pie or Buffaloe Chicken Tenders?"). He tells me, I come up with a few side dishes, and TADA we have dinner.

This works for my family. I have known lots of people that make a meal plan and stick to it. I commend them. I think I am just the type that if I know what I am going to have it already becomes boring to me. I would love to hear what you do to get dinner on the table in your house - Scheduled, Semi-Scheduled, Day Of, of Fly By the Seat of Your Pants? :)


  1. I write my menu plans for the week on a dry erase board, so that if things change for whatever reason I can just rearrange the board - so things still feel "organized" even if and when things change. I plan the week on Sunday night for Monday - Sunday.

  2. That's a great idea Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I usually shop and plan for 2 weeks of meals. Then I prep/freeze everything within a day or two. Every night I just pick a meal from the list on my fridge, they aren't in any particular order so I still feel like I have control over my choices everyday.
    Also, there is an awesome website called e-mealz where you can actually subscribe to meal plans. It's only $15 for a 3 month subscription. They give you a complete grocery list each week that is organized according to what grocery store you use. Super easy! I used it a lot when I was pregnant and didn't have the energy to plan things out myself. It gave us some new meals and if we didn't like/want one of the meals planned I just substituted one of our favorites. Also a great way to stay on budget!!

  4. Lori, Thank you so much for sharing that great idea. I never thought about making a list and then picking and choosing from the list. I will look into e-mealz. I am pregnant now and can't seem to keep up and cook right now. Thanks for the tips.