Meal Planning

When it comes to dinner at our house, I instantly think of this meme…

dinner-every-night

Seriously – every night?!

In our house, eating out or ordering food rarely happens. Once, maybe twice a month, I get the night off from cooking. We even try to limit the amount of processed foods we buy. Don’t get me wrong, my kids love their morning bowl of cereal or that package of Oreo’s might sneak its way in the door.  Cooking from scratch every day is a lot of work. Truthfully, I do love it. I get great joy out of knowing what goes into my families food, knowing I am giving them the healthiest meals I can.

Lately I have been in a rut and we have been having the same few meals over and over. It is getting boring – for me as the cook and for my family who eats it.

So I decided it was time to meal plan. Time to create a menu. And, this time get the kids involved so they won’t get so upset when I serve them dinner, (Who are we kidding… Someone  always complains! Haha.)

First, we made a calendar.

menu-sheet

We started by listing the days of the week along the top. Then, the kids decided on themes for each night. This is where you can get creative, but here are some ideas to get you started…

Vegetarian Night
Pasta Night
Pizza Night
Breakfast for Dinner
Soup Night
Salad Night
Chicken Night
Sandwich Night
Slow-Cooker Night
Fish Night
Casserole Night
Burger Night
and do not forget the occasional left over night – although for us, they make the perfect lunch.

After our themes for each day have been decided, the kids list off all of their favorite meals. You will be amazed by how much they enjoy – it is not all macaroni & cheese  or chicken nuggets. Plus, I assign nights where the kiddos will pick the meal and help cook dinner with me. For example, my oldest loves Chicken Lombardi so she helps me make it. (Someday she will be make it on her own and I will get a night off from cooking plus a home cooked meal! Winning.)

For my family, the menu is six weeks. I feel like that gives us enough time between certain dishes that we look forward to it again. And even if we aren’t, I am flexible and willing to mix it up occasionally… as long as I have all the ingredients.

So, now am I not bugging everyone with the daily question, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” I am also saving money on our grocery bill. I know exactly what I need and what we will use for that week. And, I am also saving time by not having to go to the grocery store more than once a week. That is a win-win in my book.

Now I would LOVE to know – how do you meal plan? And what are some of your favorite go-to meals?

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2 thoughts on “Meal Planning

  1. I have been making a menu with what I have supplies for, but not tying it to certain days, that was too much for me 🙂 so we have a whiteboard on the fridge and I pick from that each day until they’re all gone and it’s time to start again!

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    1. That’s a good idea! When we got our produce from Bountiful Baskets, it was always a surprise. I would meal plan based on what we got and make a list. It also worked really well.

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