Why plan meals?
Because we all have hopes of eating every single day for the rest of our lives.
Having food on hand for 10 people without planning doesn’t work very well for me, so meal planning has become a way of life
Even when there was just two of us I remember a weekly plan being beneficial.
Cooking isn’t one of my favorite things to do. Over time I’ve found ways to take something I didn’t love to do and turn it into something I’m beginning to like more and more.
Trying new recipes, training my kids to work in the kitchen, coming across a delicious dinner meal that costs less than $7 to make for 10 people, watching cooking shows, reading food blogs, and inspiration coming from one of you are ways that have brought delight to me in the kitchen.
Gone are the days of not having the right ingredients and making a quick run to the store and still being able to have dinner on the table at a decent time.
Now that I have 8 kids and moved to a more rural area where the grocery store is 20 min. away, when I forget an ingredient…..
We don’t eat.
3 reasons that meal planning rocks
1. You always have something on the menu
2. You stay within your food budget
3. You eat better for you and better tasting food
I have one small freezer/refrigerator combo and a less than spacious pantry, so I only plan food for one week at a time.
When I gain space for an extra freezer. Oh. My. Gosh. I’m going to have a meal freezing/planning party. At my house. You and I. Making a mess. Finishing with 10-30 meals to store in our freezer(s).
Doesn’t that sound awesome???
Anyways, back to reality.
This is my grocery/meal plan:
1. Get on a food budget. This will help you know what kind of meals you are able to afford and will also stop you from grabbing groceries willy nilly.
2. Pick a day of the week that you’re going to do your grocery shopping. I do mine on Wednesdays. Try to stay consistent with the day that you do your main grocery shopping trip.
3. Plan your menu the day before you go grocery shopping It will give you a little bit more time to look at recipes online, cook books, etc.
4. Have a list A menu without a detailed grocery list can be virtually worthless. Document every ingredient you’ll need for every meal as you’re writing down the menu.
5. Involve your kids Some weeks my meal inspiration tank is really low. I’ll call on the kids and have them give me some ideas. As my kids have grown older, they are often on cooking duty and when they get to pick the meals that they help cook, it makes it a genuinely positive experience.
6. Plan snacks I didn’t used to think ahead about what food my kids would eat between meals because I’d just grab something we had and bam! snack consumed.
But when you’re planning for meals and you don’t buy the whole grocery store anymore, sometimes an easy to grab snack is part of something you needed for a meal, and when that’s gone, your meal plan is altered. Therefore I like to have some sort of snack plan.
It’s really pretty simple: Budget. Pick Meals. Write a list. Buy the food.
By implementing this I:
- Only go to the store ONCE A WEEK (Except for those times I run out of Talenti gelato and/or milk, and when that happens I text Bryan. He’s obliging. Most of the time.)
- I’m not scrambling around trying to decide what’s for dinner (and breakfast and lunch)every single day
- I stay within my food budget (most of the time)
Yes, I made a PDF weekly menu document that you can print out. Just click on that link below and download it. Sure, there are thousands of them online, but this one I made, so it’s custom and quite possibly lame. BUT, if you’re OCD about neatness, it’s ‘fillable’; meaning you can fill it in with computer text.
Weekly meal planner
I also made a ‘printable’ for my waffle/pancake mix recipe below:
WAIT! There’s more. One of my favorite recipes from allrecipes.com is Curried Coconut Chicken. It’s simple to make and bursts with flavor. Here’s a link to the recipe on their website:
Curried Coconut Chicken
I hope this helps you get your weekly meal planning going. It has aided me greatly in being more organized. There are times I still forget stuff, run out of planned food, spend more money than I had hoped, and don’t do what I say I’m going to do, but thus is life.
If you’d like to share any helpful tips and ideas for meal planning, or have a favorite recipe, feel free to comment on the blog . (And if you want a weekly update on posts, sign up/subscribe with your email and they will be sent to you directly.)
I always enjoy hearing your feedback.
Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease,