I started meal planning in 2015 when my husband and I decided to take a more natural path to healing his cancer.
Now as a working mom, it plays an even more important role in making sure my family has healthy meals each week with my busy schedule.
When I first got started, I struggled for over a month as I tried to make weekly meal plans and cook healthy meals.
One fun fact about me is that I barely passed home economics in school. My mom and sister are both talented in cooking and baking but my skill set has always been in the eating of the food.
Anyone else relate?
I slowly got better each week and now it’s just something that is on my to do list and I don’t think much about it. I just make it a habit every week. I promise you if I can do it, anyone can, including you.
Every Sunday I check the calendar to see what we have on the agenda for the upcoming week. My husband and I both travel for work so if one of us is traveling I make note and typically don’t cook a meal that day but plan for leftovers or something simple. I also check the kids calendars. Do we have baseball practice or a soccer game on any evening?
Once I have determined how many days we will need meals cooked I rally my crew and ask them what they want to eat this week. Most of the time I would get blank stares or responses of 'I don’t know' so I decided to make a print out of my favorite go to meals and have them choose from that list.
It took me a few months to create a favorite meals list. I tried a lot of recipes that I found on pinterest or my favorite cancer killing cookbook and the ones we all loved made the cut. I still like to try new recipes here and there but as I mentioned before I am not a chef by any means so I try to keep things pretty simple.
After they select a few things they want to eat, I fill in the remaining nights with whatever I want to cook and write everything down on my weekly meal calendar.
Once the weekly menu is chosen, I create the grocery list from the recipes selected. This allows me to only buy ingredients I’m actually going to use for the week, reducing waste and saving money.
I grocery shop every Sunday evening and have them delivered on Monday morning. Rarely do I let anything interfere with this schedule as it is the most important part of being able to cook healthy meals. For efficiency during the week and cost savings, I try not to got back to the store or make another grocery order until the next Sunday. If I plan ahead and purchase all the items on my list it is almost always achievable.
Our weekly menu is posted on the back of my pantry door and everyone knows what to expect. I do allow some flexibility if our taste buds are craving Monday that was scheduled on Wednesday so we just switch days.
One thing I also find that helps me is staying consistent with a theme each day. For example Monday could be “Meatless Monday”, Tuesday is “Taco Tuesday”, and Friday is “Pizza Night". I don’t always follow a theme but it’s a great way to have a variety of foods scheduled for the week and narrows down your recipe search.
Breakfast is chosen from a few basic staples that I try to always have on hand. My breakfast items include the following:
Lunch is almost always leftovers or I will make a large batch of something and have it available through the week like pasta or salad. My favorite lunch is a snack plate. I like to mix and match from what we have in the fridge and typically keep these staples on hand:
Homemade Ranch for Dipping
If you have been thinking about giving menu planning a try, now is the time. It can be simple and easy.