I’ve seen some pretty impressive meal planning posts lately
there are tons of ideas out there…just search “meal planning” on pinterest and you’ll find endless hours of creativity and organization. Mine is pretty basic but I’m taking the food approach rather than the crafty approach. Maybe I’ll get on that later 😉
Since I’m only meal planning for two of us, my set up is pretty basic. We have relatively busy lives but we know what is coming up for the week. I used to just have in my head what I wanted to make and when that would be. I had elaborate plans for leftovers but that was just living in my head too. It made me feel like I was the dictator, like Mr. J’s tastes were at my whim, and like I was running the show.
Now that we’re homeowners, I’m being a grown up and mapping out the week for all to see. It is helpful for us because it gets us both on the same page, saves money, eliminates extra grocery store trips, and helps for lunch-packing-planning. Mr. J has taken to bringing lunch everyday so having a plan we both know.
Step one: figuring out what to make
I usually meal plan on Saturday or Sunday mornings. I see what is going on (i.e. Mr. J playing hockey, me working late, one or both of us going out, etc). I think of a few things I’ve been itching to make and fill in the gaps with easy throw together meals (think salads or burgers or eggs). Not every dinner is special or blog-worthy: thus why I created the What I Ate series). I usually have a list of ideas to try. I get a bunch of food magazines, I subscribe to a lot of blogs, I scour restaurant menus all the time, and Pinterest is always a great source too. I tap into these sources while watching food network or combing through my lists/ideas. I sort of attempt to vary the categories or foods so that we don’t have pizza 3 times in one week or burritos/tacos/enchiladas all in a row.
ex: If I have a pizza topping idea up my sleeve that might be Monday, and Thursdays are usually quicker/lighter meals before Mr. J plays hockey so falafel wraps might be that night. Now I need something for Tues & Wed. Maybe burgers sound good because it’ll be hot on Tuesday with my fav oil/vinegar coleslaw. We haven’t had anything Mexican in awhile so maybe that’s a good use for leftover ground meat after making Wed’s burgers. Now that becomes Tuesday’s plan. Mon & Wed have leftover capabilities for lunches the following days so I’ll add salad or sandwich stuff to the list for the days after a dinner without leftovers (i.e. I’m never gonna eat a burger I cooked the night before for lunch).
I have some more planning tips I share later. How do you plan meals?