Today I am going to share with you the new way of meal planning that has revolutionized my cooking!
First a little backstory. I have struggled with meal planning ever since I got married. There have been seasons where cooking was fun and it was easy to get a nice dinner on the table every night. And then there have been seasons when I have been busy, overwhelmed or just plain bored with cooking.
My husband always advised me to just make a weekly plan and then repeat it over and over and over… well you get the idea. That was way too confining for me! I did implement it a few times though, but was bored out of my wits and quickly threw it out. I liked freedom, flexibility, and creativity! Except when it was 5 o’clock and there was no meal plan. My family wanted stability and assurance that there would be something edible for dinner.
Well with this plan I think I have found the middle ground, the best of both!
The basic idea of this plan is to have each night of the week assigned to a certain theme. So in our house we have soup on Monday, pasta(or sometimes pizza) on Tuesday, a casserole on Wednesday, Mexican on Thursday, meat on Friday, Asian on Saturday, and chili on Sunday. You can arrange your themes any way you like. The things I considered when choosing a theme for each night was whether we had evening activities that night, were out during the day or whatever else needed to be considered. For example I didn’t want to plan a roast or meatloaf on a day we were always going to be out until close to dinner time.
The next step was to make a list of meals or recipes for each theme category. Some of my themes have quite a few more than others. We like Asian food so I have had no trouble making a list of a variety of easy meals for that list. Casseroles on the other hand has just few things, maybe I need a new theme that night!
Now what I usually do is write out a months menu at a time using my themes, this way we end up with a nice variety because I can see it and adjust as needed. Then at the beginning of each week I write out the weeks menu and a grocery list. I plan from Monday through Sunday, and usually do my grocery shopping on Monday.
I have been using this method since the new year and it has made such a huge difference! I now always know what to make and also know that I have the ingredients on hand! I will probably switch the themes up occasionally, for example when summer comes I will probably switch soup night for salad night. But this gives me an excellent framework to build from.
If you would like to download my free menu planning printables click the links below:
Stay tuned for more posts and recipes to go along with this meal planning idea!
What about you? Do you have a system that you love? Or do you struggle?