At the start of this year, I decided I needed a better meal planning system. As long as I planned over the weekend what was for dinner the next week, the mealtimes flowed smoothly. If that planning time got away from me, however, the next week became one night after another of eating too late simply because I didn’t have a solid plan in place. After all, how many of us have much time to devote to meal planning during the week if we missed our original planning time? Too often, missing that time ends up meaning the following week is filled with last minute meal choices, and last moment meal choices are rarely nutritious choices.
I got this idea by piecing together a few different methods I have seen and it has made life flow so much smoother when it comes to the meal planning department. Being successful in the the little things really does make one feel accomplished! So what’s this big idea? It’s actually quite easy…
Simply take a few moments at the beginning of the month and write down 10 meal ideas for breakfast, 10 meal ideas for lunch, and 20 meal ideas for dinner. (A great plus is that if you happen to be a bit late in doing this for the following month, you have last month’s list to fall back on and the system doesn’t break down.) Include on this list tried and true meals that aren’t difficult to fit into your schedule.
At the beginning of every week, take ideas from the breakfast, lunch, and dinner categories and fill them into the breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots of every day of the week. If you are like me, you’ll want to make note of the nights you know you will be eating out or celebrating special occasions, but that isn’t a must. Leftovers are a great lunch option the day after a home cooked dinner that yields a lot.
It’s that simple. If you follow this system, you will always have ideas for what to make for any given meal and you’ll always have a plan for the week.
To make this easier to make a part of your life, we have some free printables for you to use! (There is a note section on the side of the weekly plan for you to write down anything as fun as new meal ideas or as simple as needed items from the store.)
What are some ways you stay on top of planning wholesome meals for your family?