September 3, 2014

Organizing Time: Weekly Meal Planning
Credits: #1, #2, #3, #4
This year I've been doing weekly meal planning, and I'm writing today to tell you it's well worth the effort!

So, why bother with meal planning?  It saves money and it saves time.  I'd say that is a win, win!

Our family saves money because we plan meals based on what's in season and on sale.  Also, planning ahead means we get all the food we need in one trip to the grocery store, instead of shopping multiple times a week.  Well, sometimes I go to a few stores on my errand day, depending on who has the best deals.  But, I have a list and stick to it.  

Not only does it save time to be prepared when I'm out running errands, but it saves time each night to know what we are making for meals and to know we have all the necessary ingredients.  I don't miss the talks a half an hour before supper is supposed to be ready, when everyone is hungry, and we're trying to decide who wants to eat what only to find out we don't have what we need anyway!

Everyone will have their own preference as too how much they want to plan ahead.  Simply do a Pinterest search for "weekly meal plan" to find a wide variety of meal planning methods, menus, and free printables.  I have included some of my favorites at left.  {Click the number below in the "Credits" caption to link to the website for each form.}

Of course, I couldn't just decide right away which form would fit our family... It was a process.  I have seen a variety of ideas similar to #1 and just love them.  Talk about cute and practical! {Some of them even listed the recipe or ingredients on the back of each meal card.}  But, I had to be honest about whether I would actually take the time to get this system all together... Not at this stage in our busy life.  Many people prefer a simple sheet with one column on the left for daily supper ideas and one column on the right for a grocery list {see #2}.  I did know that I wanted to plan for more than just supper, at least some days of the week.  I liked the design of #3 {because it's pretty} and it serves the purpose just described, but I think you could also use it to list more than one meal for each day down the right column.  In the end though, I figured that we would need something more like #4.  I did use this format for a little while.

We don't always plan for breakfast, but I do like having space for lunches and snacks.  It's especially handy to plan snacks when we have a lot going on after school.  Also, we've found that lunch is the one meal where everyone can personalize what they eat according to their preference.  Also, I can plan to use up left overs for lunches and know I have enough food for my husband to take to work, for myself, and for our boys.

Here is what I recently learned: It seems there's more to keep track of with both boys being in school this year.  Of course, I didn't think about that until about a week before school started.  Well, I've organized the kids for back to school.  So, then I decided to reorganize our meal planning.  

See, I wanted a place to keep track of if one or both boys was having hot lunch and what they wanted to eat on cold lunch days.  Now the boys and I sit down once at the start of the month and look at the school lunch menu. They each pick two hot lunch meals a week, and I write it on our weekly eat sheet.  Done!   

So, have you guessed which planning sheet we use yet?  Yes, I decided to just make my own weekly eat sheet for planning:
I hope this information was helpful.  I'd love to hear from you about how you organize your time and plan for meals.   

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...