24 July 2011

Easy Meal Planning Ideas

One thing I love about being a Mom is feeding my family!  I love being able to cook for them and see them enjoy what I made and say, "Good job Mommy, this is GOOD!" Or as Grandma Judy would say, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mm Mm!"

But I don't like feeling overwhelmed with what to cook, and I don't like last minute shopping, and I don't like tripping over children as I cook.  So to avoid an unorganized home, and find a way to plan and prep my meals before dinner time I plan my meals a few months in advance.  This past week I planned our September meals and I found a way to have more of a healthy balance between chicken meals, fish meals, pasta meals, beef meals, crock pot meals, and left over night. 

I printed out a September calendar with boxes.  Click here for a printout.  Over each day of the week at the top I chose a specific category so that I could spread out the different types of meals: Over Sunday I put Leftovers Night, Monday: Chicken Meal, Tuesday: Fish/salad meal, Wednesday: Pasta Meal, Thursday: Beef, Friday: Crock Pot, Saturday: Pasta Meal

I don't know about you but we could eat pasta and chicken every night of the week.  With this new plan I felt like I was able to find more of a well balanced diet plan.  I also like to have a leftover night on the weekend because it helps clear out the fridge for Mondays Grocery Shopping Day...and I'm really leaning towards only shopping twice a month and maybe even willing to try once a month shopping to cut down on trips and save more money...it takes a lot of planning but in the Fall I just might try it!

After I labeled the top and decided what night was which, I made a new binder:  This binder had the same headings: Chicken Meals, Fish Meals, Salad Meals, Pasta Meals, Beef Meals, and Crock Pot Meals,  Then I went through magazines and my own recipe box and arranged it so that I had a selection to choose from.  And then I began plugging in my meals!  Some meals were fancy, some meals were our favorites, and some meals were new.

I noticed I needed more Fish and Salad recipes, and now I can do more research on supercook.com, or I can look in magazines specifically for the types of meals we lack.  I don't want my kids to have a lot of processed meals, I like to have as few ingredients as possible, and lots of flavor, and I want my family to feel full.

I'm noticing the more times I cook new things I am surprised at how my family's taste buds are changing and they are willing to try new things and I can make a mental note of what meals worked well, if they lasted more than one night, and what meals flopped or took to long to cook.  It's all trial by error.

September's Meals Will Be:

1-Wild Mushroom Beef Stew
2- Beef stew with white rice
3-Pasta Fagioli
4-Labor Day Weekend with Weavers
5-Labor Day Weekend with Weavers
6-Strawberry Spinach Salad
7-Pasta Salad with Feta
8-Pork Roast
9-Pork Roast with veggies and rice
10-Wedding at Grand Marquis
11-Spaghetti--Real Simple p. 256
12-Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese and raw veggies
13-Salmon with Green Beans and Corn
14-Noodles and Pesto Sauce
15-Shepherd's Pie
16-Shepherd's Pie with Corn Bread
17-Baked Ziti
18-Baked Ziti with salad and italian bread
19-Chicken Pot Pie
20-Shrimp and Rice
21-Macaroni and Cheese and Green beans
22-Chili with white rice
23-Chili with corn bread
24-whole wheat pasta w/white beans and spinach
25-whole wheat pasta w/white beans and spinach
26-Cider glazed chicken
27-Salmon with brown rice and steamed broccoli
28-Linguine with clam sauce
29-Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots
30-Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots

Please feel free to use my ideas, share them, or give me suggestions!  I love hearing from you.  Remember you are all Pros of your own home and kitchen, you know what system works best for you, and you know what foods your family loves, make a system and a meal plan that meets YOUR needs! 

Happy Homemaking!


  1. That is such a fabulous idea! I only plan weekly now but can see how much stress would be relieved if I planned out further. And I love your idea of grocery shopping twice a month. I feel like I end up spending more money by going weekly because I end up buying extra unnecessary things.

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