Meal Planning.

I take on the task of feeding the family most of the time. My husband makes some killer pizzas and the best home fries ever, but for the daily lunch and dinner menu everyone usually looks in my direction. I never enjoyed cooking, never really learned as a child, and had been slowly accruing skills just as my sons were born. They, in turn, became little toddlers and preschoolers whom thought every evening I was trying to provide the grossest items I could find. This stalled any desire to prepare meals.

It’s been a long road, but the boys are 9 and 12 now, and I’ve continually persuaded the family to try what I serve and help me with ideas. I’m willing to invest more time in cooking these days and finally started meal planning this year.

I started by writing down 1-30 (an approximate month) in my bullet journal and when I served a meal that got 3 out of 4 yums, I would write the meal down next to the number. Steadily my list has grown. Currently we are up to 23 items that the family is pretty happy to eat most nights and I’m happy with that. We continually try new recipes from the steady flow of library recipe books and rate if they are keepers or not. I’m confident we’ll have 30 meals by this summer. I will likely keep adding those we enjoy to keep our meal list from getting boring.

At this point, I just equate the 1 on my list to the first date of the month in my journal. Now, weeks 1-3 are almost completely filled. Of course, we experiment and I shift things around as needed, but the basic framework is there to support me. I know what is for dinner when I wake up. Now I have it figured it out before it’s too late, and I can easily start the ingredients I need (like bread in the bread machine or soaking beans and what not). Another benefit has been the savings in the grocery bill. By knowing exactly what I am making and what we need, we have shaved off $75 per week!

For list making, I use a fabulous app called Anylist. My husband’s and my phone are linked to a single, shared grocery list. Whomever shops always has it on hand, so if we decide to shop while out, without really planning for it, it’s no matter. We already have the week’s needs loaded and ready.

I am trying to make the meal process a bit easier and be ready with tasty and healthful options. Pre-planning has reduced the annoyance of making last-minute dinners I’m not proud of and saved a bunch of money too.

What are some ways you plan meals? I’d love to hear.


— Brenda

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