CREATING A Meal Plan
This, my friends, this does not have to be fancy or complicated and it IS worth the time! Creating a meal plan takes the stress out of shopping as well as the rest of the meals for the week. It also helps with sticking to your budget! Here is the process by which I create a meal, each week for my family, in a few simple steps.
#1. Research and Write Your List!
- Check out your local Flyers for sales.
- Make list of preferred foods on sale, divided into categories like “Meats”, “Veggies”, “Fruits” etc.
- Don’t forget to include any “staples” you may be running low on, such as baking soda. It is such a hassle to be in the middle of a recipe and realize you do not have what you need!
#2 CHOOSE Your Meals
- Decide what to make! This is the fun part. Research recipes online, or get out a cookbook you love and make notes of ones that interest you, based on main course items on sale. I personally am crazy about a well written cookbook! Your meal selections will be organized under each Day’s Meal, (include the recipe page number if you need reference).
For example: “Hamburgers with THE WORKS” would go under “Friday Supper” pg. 62 of “Personal Cookbook”.
- Lunch can be uncomplicated. Choose a “Type” of meal you want to make (like sandwiches) then create a 6 day plan of different sandwiches, varying the ingredients.
- For Breakfast we usually rotate between two simple meals each week, since it is not a meal we linger long over. For instance : Honey Date Chia Oatmeal or Eggs with Toast and fruit.
- I love doing something totally wacky or completely ‘easy-going’ one day a week (usually Sundays). Often, we plan to do a late Brunch and an early supper. Or just stick to leftovers to give yourself a break and clean the fridge out for the next week!
#3. MAKE Your Menu!
- Next, I make a list of the Main Meals I chose, divided into “Breakfast” “Lunch” and “Dinner”.
- After that, I make sure the “MENU” for the week is in plain sight of everyone (including me!). That way, I can rest assured I do not have to “figure out” what we are eating when my mind is pre-occupied with other things!
- This step is unnecessary, but fun. If you want, you can create a fun menu, like the one ABOVE in an app like Canva, to make it look like a real restaurant Menu!
#4 SAVE YOUR MEAL PLAN!
Once my meal plan is made, I save it for future use. Why throw away all that work? Your plan can easily be saved to a Google Doc, or keep it in a pretty binder like a recipe book.
Personally, I like to save mine written neatly in a notebook, then create a fancy menu on the computer to print off and put on our fridge. This eliminates everyone constantly asking, “What’s for supper, MOM?”. Additionally, it’s fun to play “Restaurant” and observe what your kitchen is serving up that week! Mostly, I appreciate having a menu ahead of time because it eliminates the ‘headache’ of not having a plan!
A “FEW” OF MY PERSONAL FAVORITE RECIPE BOOKS for Basic Meal Planning:
There is nothing like a captivating recipe book! You know…the ones that are chock full of recipes you are dying to try! Here are just a few of my absolute favourites!
- “A Homemade Kitchen” by, Alana Chernila
- “Brown Eggs and Jam Jars” by, Aime Wimbush-Bourque
- “A Kitchen in France” by, Mimi Thorisson
Tips for Meal Planning
- Make time to sit together and eat as a family. Often meal planning may seem overwhelming or pointless if everyone simply sitting in front of a TV to eat. The purpose of “Gathering together” to share in a meal helps motivate to put the effort into planning and preparing a home cooked meal.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat meals. Indeed, meatloaf three nights in a row may be repetitive. But scheduling meatloaf three different nights with a variety of other dinners in between, will mix things up. Add a salad, or a fancy dessert to highlight a new evening with the same main course.
- It took me time to get into the “flow” of basic meal planning that worked for our family. Do not be discouraged if it sounds intimidating, be patient with your trials and errors. Sometimes I meal planned too much of one main course, and forgot to add a breakfast item. No big deal. After all, with a little practice all things improve.
- Truthfully, there are innumerable ways to meal prep that have been broken into a science. But in the end, you have to do what works for you!
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