Why meal plan? Meal planning helps you feel organized and like you have your crap together. Bottom line; when nothing else is going right, at least you have a plan, some kind of plan. This plan can bring your family together at the end of the day & bring peace & joy to your home.
I try to plan one month at a time. If you are new to meal planning this will be a huge undertaking, it’s a huge undertaking for me & I've been meal planning for 13 years now! So, if you are new to menu planning sit down right now & plan next week’s meals. Try & include using up leftovers as a new meal or for lunches, & make sure to account for going out to eat if that is something your family enjoys once or twice a week. We try and eat out just once or twice a month, but those are for dietary reasons. Also, when planning your meals look at your schedule. What do you have going on this week? For us we do something easy on Mondays as my daughter has an evening activity. Friday I like for us to try and do a family movie night so I try and do something everyone can customize. Saturday’s are our typical date night, I try to do something light on those days so if we want to get a late night snack or dessert we feel like we have the calories left to do that!
So, the first thing I do is print off a month calendar (I just google whatever month & year it is then print off a free one); or you can print off a weekly menu planner. Here are some of my favorites:
http://www.imom.com/tools/get-organized/2013-printable-calendars/ (this is the one I used)
So, now that you have found your ideal monthly calendar and/or weekly calendar (I do print 4 weekly planners of the second one as I like to be able to plan out lunches & snacks as well, but I do that weekly not monthly) let’s see what my menu looks like!
So, what I did was took a look at Friday’s planned what movies we would watch and planned things that would be fairly easy & customizable. That way we are spending Friday after a long week at work as a family. They are also things that are easy to make a lot of in case the kid decides she wants to have a friend spend the night. I also planned for two dinner’s out the 9th (which now that I think about it will change to another day due to parent/teacher conferences). Also, I planned to eat out on Easter because I am trying to eat very healthy this month & I love to make ham as fattening as possible so I figure if we go to a nice brunch I can have some salmon. I have something special planned for St. Patty’s Day on the 17th . I also plan to make something cute & fun for Dr. Seuss’s birthday tomorrow! Finally, the last two weeks of the month are Spring Break so we have easy things planned that can be prepared ahead then thrown in the oven or thrown in the crockpot. As after a long day of hiking, ropes courses, or looking at museum’s the last thing I want to do is hang out in the kitchen!
So, I hope this will get you started on your new menu planning adventure! On Sunday I will share with you my Menu for the upcoming week as well as my “Sunday Plan” for premaking snacks, breakfasts, as well as prepping vegetables and what not for the upcoming meals!
Have a great weekend!