Bits of Sweetness: Meal planning

Meal planning

Those two ominous words!

Every day I have to come up with something to plan for dinner, and, well, I am just not that creative spur-of-the-moment with whatever we happen to have in the cupboard.

So, attempt to meal plan I go! Anyone else want to join in?

A few tips from a friend who rocks meal planning:

Plan with what's on sale. A couple times I've planned meals that end up costing a bit because none or few of the things were on sale! Oops.

Get great ideas from places like Pinterest (you don't need an account to lookup things, but do to save the pins.) or All-Recipes, or from family & friends. Most people love to share their fave recipes.

Don't over-do it. Challenging yourself is good. But, being realistic is good too :) Menu planning doesn't mean spending an hour on the dish and then another hour on the sauce if that's just not your thing. Look for ideas that are "semi-homemade" where you make part of the dish but not the entire thing.

Have easy fallbacks. Sometimes a dish just fails to execute! It ends up looking way better than it really actually does, or you have a super busy day and need something fast like pizza. Don't stress about missing a day. If you miss it, you miss it. Maybe it should be renamed Meal Suggestions because, that's a much better name!

There are some great free meal-plan printables here (Print off a couple copies and go to town on it!). There's even a shopping list on it.

One easy idea for meals is to spend a day cooking different meals and then freezing them (or refrigerating if you know you're using it sooner). To make it easy you can make meals with the same kind of meat but different dishes. Wrap with foil and write the contents and baking instructions with a sharpie so anyone can stick it in the oven. It gets a lot of the cooking out of the way! You can incorporate that into meal planning. One thing I love to do is buy a large package of meat, cook it all up, and have it in the freezer in a bag so I can just grab what I need. It works great too if you want to save a step.

Don't over-think it all! If you are a busy mom with even busier kiddos, google "easy meal ideas" rather than trying to find new dishes that take forever. If you have more time, or just love cooking, then great! This could also be a good chance to try some new baking things like home-made bread or rolls or biscuits to go with meals. (Google is awesome. Pinterest too. Just lookup whatever it is you are having troubles thinking of!) Confession: we definitely don't have a bunch of dishes with each meal. Usually it's veggies and the main dish. That's it. Sometimes I'll add a salad too, but rarely do we have bread, salad, veggies, the main dish, and a side dish. Do what works for you! Menu planning is simply a tool to take one less stress off your mind! (And just think, you could put the list up to eliminate the "what's for dinner" question- or put up pictures if the younger ones can't read. They could even help you plan it! kids are full of good ideas!)

And.. with all that said... off I go to figure out what's for dinner tonight ;-) (Hehe. Wonder why I'm embarking on menu planning?! I need it! Greatly!)

1 comment :

  1. what a sweet blog you have here! i'm a meal planning fanatic! following you here and on pinterest! (:


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