I LOVE to cook. However, I used to HATE trying to decide what to make. It seemed the decision about what to have for dinner would hang looming over my head like a dark storm cloud. Then, once a decision had been made; a trip to the grocery store would most likely be in my future. I rarely like to grocery shop either.
So, I finally came to my senses and started meal planning. I think I had been slightly opposed to it because for some reason I had in my mind planning meals meant it had to be a month at a time and buying in bulk. I am organized, but not to that level. But, I figured out what works for me. I also figured out that Shipt in my area works with one of my favorite grocery stores! I can order and they deliver same day: which is great when I don’t have time to make it to the store.
So here is what I do:
- Either on Saturday or Sunday I pull out a few of my favorite cookbooks, a few magazines and my planner. I sit at my desk so I also have access to Pinterest. I don’t rush this process. I have learned to block out time and enjoy it. I also have a few free printables from daydesigner.com with me. These come in 8.5 x 11 but I usually shrink them to an A5 size to keep in my planner, except for the one by the back door that my family writes anything they may need on.
- I start with the Weekly Menu page.
- There are a few things that are easy to fill in because they remain the same each week. Every Wednesday night is Panini night. After we get home from church I get out the George Forman grill and make paninis. We have different variations each week, but it is still super easy. Also, this is the only night we eat late! Every Friday Night is take out night. Every Sunday night is homemade pizza night. This makes it much easier to meal plan. I only have 4 nights left to make decisions about! I do also cook breakfast on Saturdays but I usually keep breakfast food on hand. I also make our lunches each week, but again usually it is stuff I keep on hand or leftovers.
- So next, I go back through previous Weekly meal plans (I keep them in my planner) to see if there is anything we had recently that I want to have again. Then I thumb through a few magazines that are relevant seasonly and I go through a few cookbooks. As I pick out recipes, I try to make a note where the recipe is from and I write down the things I need to order. If I am short some recipes, I will throw in a taco night or hamburger night and move along. I will also pick out one or two desserts for the week. If there is nothing I want to make, pre-packaged cookie dough it is!
- Then I take an extra step and transfer the list to my Grocery Shopping list which you can also find at daydesigner.com
- I just love how this one is in sections. It makes it easier for me when shopping. After that, I check the list by the back door to see if my family has anything on it. I check the pantry and fridge really quickly in case I forgot to write something down. Then I am ready to go to the store or place an online order!! * I don’t get anything from daydesigner for promoting their products, the printables are free. I have just been using their stuff for years, love it and like sharing with you!
- The final step:
- I write it on this board so no one has to ask me what is for dinner 🙂
Of course things happen and we may have to rearrange a night. But, we remain flexible and for the rest of the week I don’t have to worry about what is for dinner. That little time planning saves me a lot of headache from last minute decisions and being unprepared. I have actually come to enjoy my time sitting down and preparing meal plans. I hope this helps you some, it is not perfect but it works for me! When in doubt, keep it simple! It is much better to have a home full of life than one with a stressed out atmosphere about dinner.