I don’t know about you, but for me meal planning is the worst! It may be because I have three different special diets out of the five members of my family, but it super stresses me out. But I have found the EASIEST meal planner for our meals possible. Seriously- once you try it you won’t want to do it any other way.
One thing I am passionate about is using my resources wisely. I really want to pass on to my kids the ability to be frugal, use their money wisely, and just generally honor God with their time and resources. So I am making Sunday to be Stewardship Sunday. You can expect posts on saving money, managing time and resources and all kinds of stewardship ideas.
I took C with me to the grocery store a few days ago. She really enjoys spending time with me one on one and doesn’t mind that it is for grocery shopping. It was such a great chance to talk to her about how I plan what we eat each week. I showed her all the places in the store where sale items usually are, and pointed out a couple “sales” that were really not very good deals.
She loves pointing out deals when we are in the store now, and its helpful to have another set of eyes looking for those yellow stickers. I hope that including my kids in managing our finances will encourage them to be thankful for what we have. Also, hopefully some of it will stick for when they are running their own house!
When I tell someone that we have three special diets in our family I often get a blank stare followed by “So what do you guys eat?” Well the truth is there have been many periods since I became a mom where most of my meals for our family were pretty much a different plate for every one. Sometimes this was due to the stress of trying to figure out what in the world is a dish that we could all eat. But over the last couple years I have finally figured out a few meals we can have together.
The next obstacle is planning them. Ugh! this has the feel of a laundry type chore for me. As in, the second I have a whole week planned, there we go, eating dinner again and my plan is out of use. Its such a chore, that I am tempted to just not do it, which means we end up not eating healthy (at all). Also, we end up spending way too much on groceries and sometimes wasting produce and food because we don’t eat it in time.
This meal planning system makes things so much easier! for one thing, I never have to try to think up a meal at five in the evening (not a good time of day for me to think). I’m always tired at that time from a full day of home school and life!
Also if my kids are asking what is for dinner they can just go look at my planner to see what I have written for the day. It’s amazing.
So now to show you the method:
First, write out lots of main dishes and side dishes that your family will eat. I like to use the little flag size post it notes so that I have a separate one for each dish.
Next, in your planner or on a white board, draw out a place for each night’s dinner. This doesn’t have to be super fancy, you just need to be able to easily see what day is what dinner.
Choose meals for the week. We have simplified our week of meals by having a couple things that we eat (almost) every week. Things like tacos/quesadillas, baked potatoes, and everybody’s favorite- breakfast for dinner.
This way of planning is so flexible. If I realize Monday morning that I forgot to buy bacon for our breakfast meal, I can move that post it note to later in the week and choose one that I have all the ingredients for to make that evening.
Since converting to this method of meal planning I have lowered our grocery bill by about $50 per week. That’s huge! Also, even though we have some staple meals that we use often, we are actually getting more variety on other days because I have a list in front of me of all the meals we like. If we try something new I can just jot down a new note for my page.
So what do you think? Do you have a way to plan that you like better?