Monday, January 28, 2013

Monthly Meal Planning

Confession:  I'm far from the world's greatest chef.  In fact, I don't have much of a passion for it...

But it had gotten so bad, a couple months ago I would just dread planning meals and figuring out what to make for dinner that I would wait until the very last minute, scrounge something up, and barely put together something to feed our little family (well, mainly just Jas and I).  Seriously, ya'll, it was ugly.

It definitely stressed me out and consequently stressed my poor hubby out.  So towards the end of last year I just knew I needed to do something about it.  I needed to figure out a way to be more efficient in the kitchen and in coming up with meals.

I researched meal plans, talked to my friend Steph about it (who's much better at cooking, food planning and prep in general, than I), and beefed up (haha, pun intended) my pinterest food board with high intentions of following through with a weekly meal planning strategy.

And I did.  I planned all my meals (using pinterest, cookbooks, and a list Steph sent me) every Friday for the upcoming week.  On Saturday we went shopping for all ingredients and I finished out the year happily cooking for my family.  I felt so much more confident and prepared in what I was planning and serving to the ones I love.  It. felt. good.

Then came the new year.  And I wanted to be sure I stuck to it.  I didn't want to drop the ball or fall off the "feeling prepared" wagon...ya know?  But this time I just decided to try something different.

So I decided I would meal plan for the whole month of January.  And I would like to tell you, I am in love.  So much so that I can't wait to start planning meals for the month of February, ha!  And all that coming from a girl who just months ago despised planning and figuring out dinner.

I faithfully planned all of my January meals one afternoon at the very beginning of January and have weekly just made a shopping list.  We still go on Saturday's to get all we need, but the whole process is SO MUCH LESS STRESS.  And I feel so good about planning ahead and knowing what I'm going to make.  And then I get to check it off of my nifty little monthly meal planner calendar that hangs proudly on the fridge.  Can you tell I feel so much better about it?

(Above is the meal planner print-off I use.  It can be found here.  And I guess I should make a note that I do believe in leniency and not sticking to it just to stick to it, ya know?  Having a plan helps me tremendously, but if we have a sudden change of plans, I'm ok with switching around meals, or dropping a meal here or there, and not feeling bad about it...)

So, that, in a nutshell, is how I'm taking my family's hunger into my own hands ;) Haha.

How do you do get dinner on the table?  Or are you like I was and don't plan?  Do tell!


  1. Good for you! I've had bouts of time where I've meal planned. Never planned for a whole month, but for the week. I've liked it when I've done it but don't do it much right now. It doesn't stress me out about not having a plan these days but I agree it does feel real good when I do, and it makes for less repeat meals, more variety. Now that you've brought this up I think I might just do a plan for the next week, figuring I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow. :)

  2. I was thinking the other day about how much better of a "homemaker" I've become since we added children! It's just something that comes with the territory I think. We do weekly meal planning. Since my kitchen is 100 degrees all the time I have a few meals that I fix often and that I know everyone loves and that makes enough for one meal and then leftovers the next night. Then I mix in new recipes when I get bored or am inspired by pinterest. Of all that the biggest help to me is making a meal, then eating it for leftovers the next night. It means I only have to cook 2 or 3 times per week. And we have at least one night of grilled cheeze and veggies. :) So glad you're getting this under your belt. No worries that you didn't do it before, I think it's just part of the "growing family" territory of skills you acquire!

  3. Once upon a time when I was teaching school, I did meal planning by the month. I'm not sure how I would have survived otherwise. :-) Lately though I've been terrible at thinking / planning ahead... which means we often experience the same stressed-out, dissatisfied with our meals feeling. Earlier this month, I considered jumping back on the planning bandwagon by doing it a week at the time. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration. It's difficult to stick to a plan because our schedule changes so much these days, but some plan would be better than no plan. Not sure if you've used the site at all, but Sharon recommended it and I've found lots of inspiration for recipes on there... particularly for when it comes to making something that I just can't find the ingredients for here in Prague.

  4. Good for you!!!! Perhaps I'll have to give monthly planning a go with February... ;)


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