I’ve always been a planner and a list-maker. For periods of time, I’ve meal-planned on a weekly basis, and recently even convinced Jon to participate a few times. Unfortunately, the weekly meal-planning hasn’t become a routine habit for us quite yet. There are a million excuses I could make – I have an unpredictable schedule that makes doing anything weekly difficult, we have little time together as is and meal-planning is not the most fun way to spend that time, etc. I can say that the few times we have successfully planned a week of meals, it’s been great. I look forward to getting home to start cooking because we know what’s on the menu, the ingredients are there waiting for us and it’s something we’re excited to make.
It’s been a constant goal of our to waste less in the kitchen, and I’m convinced that meal-planning has to be one of the best ways to do this. But, it’s been hard to do, so I thought posting about it on here would be good motivation for me to commit to it, and offer a forum for any others of you out there to hop on board.
As with most things in life, I think the most difficult part is knowing where and how to start. Our two biggest challenges are finding the time to sit down together to plan and then deciding on what we will make. With so many food blogs out there, so many magazines, cookbooks and my own ever-growing list of ideas of recipes to make, it’s hard not to feel totally overwhelmed. So, for now, I’ll be adopting a few rules to structure the planning:
- I will start with planning just 4 nights per week, leaving Friday, Saturday & one weeknight as either “catch-up” days for any meals that didn’t get made, as a night to finish up leftovers or a night out.
- I will pick my meals from the following four categories:
- oldies but goodies (chickpeas & spinach, sweet potato & black bean tacos, pulled pork tacos are a few that come to mind)
- easy way out (think breakfast for dinner, super easy sandwiches, etc)
- new from a blog (we all know I’ve bookmarked way too many…)
- new from a cookbook (for now, I’m going to stick with Super Natural Every Day & The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
- I will also plan for at least one baked good or snack (a new bread, some good old granola or perhaps a homemade version of something I eat almost every day)
It’s a busy week coming up with a few nights out and guests coming this weekend. I’ll be keeping track of things the old-fashioned way and will let you know how things go next week.
Do you meal plan? What are your strategies?
other helpful links on meal shopping:
– meal planning 101 by natalie
– Menu Planning from Annie’s Eats
– Seven Days Challenge: Your 5-Step Plan from DALS
– This Week for Dinner – a blog all about weekly meal planning