Deciding on what to make for dinner each night is the hardest decision I face each day. Silly, I know. Opening the freezer, refrigerator or pantry didn’t solve this dilemma. I had partial ingredients to make what I somewhat wanted to prepare. Not all ingredients. Too tired to think of a meal idea, the family and I would go out to dinner. This is expensive, not always the healthiest choice and it was time consuming. Not good after a long day. Who wants to wait on a table then your food and then the bill?
After reading many different blogs on the merits of meal planning, I gave it a try. For one week. Didn’t work for me. Not the meals I planned. This is what I learned from that week and how I will menu plan differently from now on.
Meal Planning Tips
- Do not try new recipes during the work week. I was way too tired to even attempt this. Save new recipes for the weekend when rested.
- Try to make at least one meal work twice for you. I like to slow cook a roast and use the leftovers for BBQ sandwiches the next day.
- Use meals that are easy to prepare without much prep work. Who wants to cut and dice a bunch of vegetables after work?
- The night before, put any frozen meat in the refrigerator to thaw. One less thing to think about during a chaotic morning.
I have a free menu printable for you with a shopping list. Plan your menu. See what ingredients are missing from your pantry, freezer and refrigerator to put on the shopping list.
Remember to use your grocery store’s weekly flyer to plan your meals around sale meats. This way you have a menu and grocery list in one.
Post the menu on your refrigerator or family command center. Then everyone knows what’s for dinner. Saving you from the never ending question of what’s for dinner.
You could take this a step further. Plan four weeks at a time. Grocery shop for all the sale items for four weeks for meats and other sale items. Or bulk buy. What ever saves the most money.
Use your freezer for sale meats and perishables. Portion out any bulk buys before freezing. I keep talking about meat because that is the most expensive part of your meal.
Then you can rotate your meal plans. Talk about a time saver not to mention your sanity.
A little meal planning goes along way to making your weeknights less hectic.