I talked about some different questions you can ask yourself to try to figure out the best way to meal plan for your family. At this time I have decided to make one long list of meals for the month that I can choose from.
I did take some time to come up with a loose structure for each day of the week so that I am not having to look at thirty meals each day and make my choice. One thing I have learned about myself is that I am indecisive so I don't want too many options. I've also learned, as I've said before, I like to boycott my plan so it can not be too structured. Taking my particular
faults quirks into account this is how I am meal planning.
Steps To A Monthly List of Meal
First, I take the meals I know will be made on certain days of the week. For our family these include:
- Pancakes, Yogurt, Applesauce (Tuesdays - Date Night Mom & Dad)
- Popcorn, Cheese sticks, Carrots OR Scrambled Eggs, Cheese, Fruit or Veggie (Sundays)
I now make a list of all the meals I am coming up with for the month. This month I tried to come up with 5 weeks worth. I take into account company, holidays, and any other family commitments throughout the month. Also, if there are leftovers that I froze for a freezer meal or things I need to use up in the freezer I make sure to try and remember those too.
Next I figure out what types, or themes, of meals our family will be eating for the month and fit them into the other five days of the week. So it looks something like this:
- Sunday - Popcorn, Cheese sticks, Carrots OR Scrambled Eggs, Cheese, Fruit or Veggie
- Monday - Soup
- Tuesday - Pancakes, Yogurt, Applesauce (Date Night)
- Wednesday - Meat & Potatoes, Veggie
- Thursday - Pasta
- Friday - Other Option (These meals didn't fit nicely into a category for me.)
- Saturday - Pasta
I purchased at the back to school sales a marker board that just fits on a wall by my kitchen. I write my monthly meals on there so that in the morning or...at 5pm I can see what I should hurry up and make.
As you can see on the picture I list out the meals that I plan to repeat so that I can erase them once I have cooked them. I'm very visual and this helps me to see what my options are and what I need to use up. I noted which day of the week that meal is an option for. I do have this cute weekly fridge cling-on that I also wrote the daily theme on. There are a few chores I write on here as well.
You can also see in order to figure out how to get the bulk of my food once a month we eat the same lunches every week. There seems to be enough variety for us even with the limited options. We are currently having:
- Peanut Butter & Jelly (on homemade bread - 5 loaf recipe coming soon!) 3 X a week
- Homemade Macaroni & Cheese (recipe coming soon!) 3 X a week
- Frozen Pizza 1 X a week This may not be frozen convenience for too much longer...my children alone polished off 2 whole pizzas, a piece of fruit each, and 1/2 a bag of baby carrots themselves...it may become homemade pizza from now on...
- Hotdogs 1 X a month
I don't have breakfasts written down but we pretty much follow:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Eggs & Homemade Toast with Jam
- Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday - Oatmeal with Berries
- Saturday - Pancakes (The kids really like whole wheat pancakes around here!)
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how you can have a meal plan that is both structured and flexible at the same time!
Let me know if the comments if you have any questions or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.