Let me start with a disclaimer— we don’t have kids at home and my husband will eat anything I make and say thank you. Your mileage may vary.
I have been using this meal planning format for years. I created it as a Word document. On Saturday, I add the evening activities to the planner before I add any meals. There have been times when I would be gone during the dinner hour or had to leave right after dinner and that was an important factor. Then I fill out the meal plan and post it on the fridge door. This is very helpful when there was food in the fridge that needed to be reserved for a certain night. (Nothing worse than planning for leftovers only to discover the leftovers were gone!). I am current,y using a small white board on the fridge to list meals. Makes it easy to switch things around if needed. Once I have the meals planned, I can add things to the grocery list too. This has really made my once a week grocery store outing a lot more efficient.
After I plan our meals and write them on the board, I tape the paper meal planner into my notebook. (This is a new step and is helping me keep track of what I am eating.) I don’t have to leave the house for meetings but I do have a few evening/online activities so I still put those in first. Friday night is always wine and cheese so that is easy. Then we have Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays. One or maybe two nights we have some sort of bowls (Thai, burrito, curry). I try to have one night for leftovers and one night for pasta or the occasional pizza. I am working toward more plant based eating so on the flip side of the planner, I am making notes about recipes. In the box with the heart, I write down some prep ahead ideas. On Sunday afternoons I like to chop veggies and make a batch of rice and quinoa so they are ready to go. This week I made black bean burgers one night but the recipe made 6 burgers so I froze four.
Looking ahead is a huge part of successful meal planning. I love to have a salad every night but I don’t like the chopping part. When the veggies are all chopped and stored in the fridge, it makes having a salad more likely. Same with rice. If it just needs to be warmed, it takes away that “oh man, I’d want to eat now and the rice will take 40 minutes!” I also cook more chicken than we need for the week and freeze that too.
My next project is figuring out how to store my favorite recipes, I have a big pile of printed recipes and a few stacks of recipe cards. But that story is for another day. If you have notebook stories to share, be sure to visit Katie too.