Meal Planning Made Simple

Every day I come home from work and get in the door, I hear “I’m hungry, what’s for supper?” I hate thinking up what we are eating that night and trying to come up with something by digging through the freezer and cabinets. It also doesn’t help that I have one extremely picky eater. I have started to come up with a meal plan before I grocery shop. I know it isn’t a novel idea, and there are far better blogs you can read about meal planning. But, I’m doing what works for me, and I’m hoping to get better at it as I go along. Now, it won’t be fancy and every meal won’t be planned out. I’m just getting started, so bear with me.

Here’s my new meal planning routine in a nutshell.
1. Check Pinterest for recipes — just enough for 5 meals. I know there are 7 days in a week, but I know I won’t cook every single night. So, instead of writing down 7 recipes and buying ingredients for those meals, I’m doing 5. That way I’m not setting myself up for failure. Make a “This Week’s Menu” board to pin those recipes to for later.

2. Make out my grocery list as I save my recipes.  Once the list is made out, check the kitchen and mark off the things I already have on hand. I do love using printable grocery lists that organize your items by category. You can print these out here and here.

3.  Check for any coupons I can use to buy what is on my list.  Usually I can find one or two coupons, which doesn’t seem like much, but every little bit adds up.  Now, if you do stockpiling and couponing, don’t try to shop for weekly groceries in the same trip (unless you are organized and not easily overwhelmed—-not me)

4.  Figure out what meal you are going to eat on what day.  I find that if I assign a recipe to a certain day, I am more likely to follow thru.  It is too easy to go buy groceries and make the plan, then decide to not feel like it that day and just pop a pizza in the oven.   Or am I only one that does this?   Make a cute menu board and post the plan for all to see.  If the kids are excited about Taco night, then they will make sure you follow thru, too.

So, this is a fairly simple thing.  There are lots of blogs out there that post weekly menus with recipes and meal plans that you can subscribe to.  Those are great if you want to try out new recipes and not have to put a lot of thought into it.   It just hasn’t worked out that well for me because of my picky eaters.  I do better finding my own recipes.  Now, I just got into planners and so I purchased a Happy Planner Recipe Book.  I am adding recipes to that book that we have made and really enjoy.  My goal is to get it full of things we like and then not have to go hunting down recipes all the time.  Instead I will just flip open my book and pick a few.  You can also just print out the recipes you find and stick them in a binder.  Put numbers on each one and then when you make out your meal plan for the week, write the number beside it and you will know just where to find the recipe.

Just for the heck of it, here are some of my favorite recipe blogs or websites I check often.


UPDATE:  I have started using Walmart grocery pickup!! Huge timesaver!! Check out my review here!  Walmart Grocery Pickup – You must try it today!