It’s that time of the week…to plan your meals for the next week! I know, I know, it requires an exclamation point to create some true excitement. But, I do promise that taking 20 minutes tonight or first thing Saturday night to meal plan saves time, money and sheer panic. You know, that feeling that sneaks up on you around 4:30 every afternoon of ‘What am I going to make tonight for dinner?’ Or ‘Do they really HAVE to eat again?’
This last minute meal scramble often results in either a fast food run, a pricey dinner out or cereal for dinner. Does that provide an opportunity to nourish your family and have a meaningful conversation with your family? Not every meal has to entail a 4 course gourmet meal to fit the bill. Read on to learn my tricks…
First, I get my dry erase calendar out to see what activities we have going on…
This can give you a great framework with which to start. Nights that include an after work activity (i.e. gymnastics, spelling bee, soccer practice) are made even easier when a crock pot meal is ready and waiting when you come home.
Working a little late and need a meal that can come together quickly? I incorporate meals such as sausage and broccoli in the wok, hamburgers, fish, stir fry, etc.
Is there a sale on a large piece of meat? Plan two meals in a row that can incorporate the same protein. Cook a large pork roast and have either leftovers or use on a salad or throw into an egg bake.
Next, I get out my dry erase meal planner, Well-Fed cookbook by Melissa Joulwan and Pinterest to fill in the framework.
For vegetables, I figure out how many dishes require sides. Then when I hit the farmer’s market and Whole Foods, I get what I can find. That way we can get whatever is fresh and in season.
It took a while to get the system figured out, and each family has their own needs and rhythm to figure out. But, being able to come home and know what the plan is takes the pressure off of coming up with a meal on the fly and minimizes the stress of each evening.
What tips work for you??