Simpler Meal Planning

Who really succeeds at meal planning? Do you ever really want to stick with what you planned? I never did and I found I wasted just as much food prior to meal planning. Luckily, there’s Taco Tuesday! Yay! Every Tuesday, I know what we’re eating; tacos, burritos, or quesadillas (since my kiddies aren’t taco fans…. crazy, right?). Why not extend that to every day?

Well, that excellent idea was so simple and brilliant that of course, it was not mine. I found it in a book, Simplicity Parenting. So, every day we have a different theme for each meal and it’s made our lives easier. Ours are Pasta Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Dutch-oven Wednesdays, Rice or Soup Thursdays, Fish Friday, Grill Saturday and Open Sunday.

At first, it seemed limiting and I felt pressure to have a different meal of each theme. Soon, I found in an effort to continue these themed meals (only because my children were now excited for their planned meal and ate dinner better) I made certain staples over and over. One example is of Pasta Monday, how many variations can I do that is easy and nutritious that my children will eat????!!! Well, I found many… but they happily accepted the same broccoli, mushroom, tomato linguini with garlic cream sauce over and over and over again. My daughter is so happy over being able to predict the day’s theme. Sometimes she even picks a different noodle and is so happy. We even throw in chicken, sausage, or pork some nights.

My favorite is probably Dutch oven Wednesday’s. Because…. I’m lazy. Some days it’s burgers and I make fries deep fried in the Dutch oven. Or soup with bread, or pasta again. Or…. sauté something in the Dutch oven. Great emergency get rid of ingredients in the fridge day.

The real best thing about meal planning is it takes pressure off me. My husband is gone for about half the year so I’ve got three kids, big ole dogs and sometimes construction going on. (We got a project house) With so much to do, especially with homework, it’s hard to keep on top of it. Having simple, predictable meals that I’ve made a lot makes me faster at getting dinner ready. I know how much of each ingredient I need to feed us, no guessing. I know that it’s healthy and isn’t a strain or complicated to make.

The financially best thing about meal planning is I know what I need when I go shopping. I waste less food and waste less money. We could all use that, I think! My grocery trips are normally about 20 minutes…. sometimes 30.

Side note. I do this with the kids’ lunches too. They pretty much get the same thing every day with some slight variations. I tried changing for each day but it was hard for me and the kids didn’t notice or care. My oldest and youngest want their favorite sandwich everyday and my middle kid doesn’t care at all.

Life is already hard. It doesn’t have to be harder

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