meal planningTuesday, November 06, 2012
What should I make for dinner? What am I in the mood for today? I don't know what to make.
Ever have those moments? Where you either don't have a taste for anything or don't have the inspiration on what to make or you just don't care and thinking about what to make takes longer than actually making something. In my search for some meal/recipe ideas I came across this concept of meal planning in advance. What didn't I think of that before, so simple, right? Some do meal planning for the week, month (yes month including groceries!). It couldn't have been more perfect timing as I was 7-8 months pregnant with our second baby and I thought this would be perfect for when I am recovering. Having everything planned out would make it easy on me because the hubby would have our 'game plan' right there.
In our trial and error period we decided on designating a theme for each day of the week, i.e. Mexican Mondays. This allowed us to have enough variety throughout the week to not get bored. Some folks that meal plan do their grocery shopping monthly. I prefer to do mine weekly. It allows me to make changes if I am not feeling something that I chose a month ago. Each week I have my "planning" day (Thursdays) where I decided what we will have for the week coming up. Then I have my grocery day (Fridays) where I shop for food for Sunday-Saturday. We make our dinners work for us by having them as left overs for lunch the next day and then on Fridays (shopping day) we do Finish it up Fridays, which is eating leftovers we haven't finished. That way we aren't being wasteful.
I am a very visual person so to help myself see what we have planned visually I created a color coded system for our theme days. With the color coded days I retyped our recipes to match the days for instance our recipe for Street Tacos I put on a yellow card for Yellow - Mexican Mondays, for my chili it was placed on green card for Green - Crockpot Wednesdays. Not only is it visual for me but it is easy enough that the hubs can use it. He sees that Wednesdays are greens and goes straight the green cards if he is responsible for cooking that day. I also did a quick 2-month calendar so I can plan a little farther out but isn't too much commitment if I want to move things around.
The Weekly Menu Planning and Recipe Card kit is available here.
We have found it has saved us money as well. We noticed that when we didn't plan ahead we had lazy moments where nothing inspired us to cook we would run and get something quick, healthy but quick. Well those little trips add up very quickly. So not only do we shop to have enough to eat for the week, we are saving both in the cost of eating out and the gas to go and get it.