Thursday, September 1, 2011

Meal Planning

I've never been great at meal planning.  I will either not make a plan at all and then end up ordering take out at the last minute because my entire day has gotten away from me (ever happened to you?!), or I will make an elaborate meal plan, and end up only making a couple of the meals on it because I make too much food.  I guess that isn't an entirely horrible position to be in, unless you are not a fan of repetition!

Yesterday, prompted by Simple Mom's new book "One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler," I attacked meal planning.  She is very much high tech about the whole thing, scheduling meals into her Google Calendar, which is then e-mailed to her every morning; opening up all kinds of recipes online.  It really sounds great for her!  And I may implement a meal planning calendar into my own Google calendar.  Not having to think about what to make in the morning, or search for my list, might be a good idea.  What I did though, was list out every meal that I typically make.  Some are seasonal meals, like soups for fall/winter and salads for spring/summer, but most of them are meals that I regularly make all year round.

I was able to list 31 meals, although I am sure there are more that I make less frequently, and those may get thrown into the mix every now and again.  I then typed up this list in Word and after each meal I wrote down every ingredient that I needed for that specific meal, and I mean every ingredient - down to what type of oil I use.  I would like to organize it in a better way, maybe all the soups together, all the recipes that require milk and cheese, that sort of thing.  I was pretty impressed with myself to do that though.  Now I can easily pick meals from this list, know exactly what I need to buy, or be able to look in my cupboards and know what I have on hand and try to make something from what I have.  Most of my meals are pretty basic, and need a lot of the same ingredients, so that helps in simplifying for me.

As far as actual meal planning, I think the best thing for me will be to list 14 dinners, and then repeat them, so each month we have something 4 times (since we eat leftovers for lunch mostly).  I don't think that is too much repetition, but we shall see what the rest of my family thinks.  I also think this will help me stay on my little itty bitty food budget for the month.  You may have guessed that we eat a lot of bean and rice variations :-)  Now you know why I have to can so much salsa!

What about you?  Do you meal plan?  Do you find that you can stick to it?  And if you do, is it weekly, monthly?  If you are interested in learning more about Tsh's new e-book, click here to visit Simple Mom.


  1. Ohhhh - this is a great post. I need to check out this book too! It's on my list of goals for Fall and I think you are onto something great! I'm checking it out today! Thanks bud!

  2. I read the meal planning post on Simple Mom but need to look more into the book. I am pretty awful at meal planning!! We eat at home a lot although we end up eating the same 5-6 meals over and over and over. :) I am sure my husband would appreciate a change up.


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