Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our Meal Plan

Step one of our new food plan (catchy name coming soon...just as soon as I think of one) was sharing some initial thoughts and baring my food soul in a previous blog post while seeking out some accountability.

Step two is getting a weekly meal planning system in place. I do have a basic system in place right now and in a perfect world, I try to do a little planning before I go to the store. In my real, actual world, most of the time I end up winging it.

Since what I'm doing isn't working, I want to figure out how to make our plan more sustainable and enjoyable. Once that is established and we have a routine in place, I think I can work on integrating more whole foods into what we're doing through adding, substituting, replacing, etc.

I loved all the input I got from my Facebook friends on the subject. A couple of them use on-line meal planning systems like emeals and Food on the Table, some of them plan (and even cook) a week or a month in advance, and one very organized girl has created a spreadsheet for her favorite grocery store, aisle by aisle, so she can just highlight what she needs and then get in and get out. I also love all of you who admitted to simply flying by the seat of your pants!

After thinking through our individual family's needs, here's what I have come up with for us:

{Our Meal Plan}

Make a list of favorite/common meals our family enjoys.
I pulled out my recipe binder, my recipe card box, and a couple of my favorite cookbooks (including The Stocked Kitchen...I would recommend this cookbook/meal planning system for anyone who has no idea where to start) and then listed out our family favorites.

Follow this "schedule" (with a lot of room for flexibility):
Sunday: open 
Monday: new recipe   
Tuesday: old standby 
Wednesday: leftovers 
Thursday: crockpot 
Friday/Saturday: grill/pizza + open

I am only planning dinners for now because that's our biggest issue. 

Our weeknights are usually a little hectic. Matt often works late Monday and/or Wednesday nights, I sometimes run with a runners group on Tuesday night, and Ella has gymnastics on Thursday nights. 
Oh, and it's baseball season for Dylan right now too.

Create a customized, printable shopping list for our family.
I spent a cold, rainy Friday afternoon putting this list together after being inspired by a similar list that my friend Bethany shared with me.
(I know, I know, my friends are brilliant.) 

I used Excel to lay mine out and it worked well for me. I can print three lists to a sheet of paper, and I can print them two-sided. On the front is my shopping list with commonly used items already filled in and on the back are spaces for my daily meal planning.

Meal plan on Sunday; grocery shop on Monday. 
This will take some discipline on my part. I'm usually pretty lazy Monday morning, but I know if I get in the habit of getting my act together at the beginning of the week, I will be a happier cook in the kitchen.

Figure out a way to visually display a weekly menu in our home. 
(That's where you come in, Pinterest.) I have some ideas swirling around in my head, but nothing definite yet. To Be Determined.

Link up weekly to Menu Plan Monday
@ I'm An Organizing Junkie.

(At least until the meal planning habit has been firmly established.)
I think this will be a good way to hold myself accountable. As I found with the 40 bags process, I am much more likely to follow through when I know I will be sharing my results with my on-line community.

Share {small} steps we've taken recently towards better eating.
I'm not sure what this piece will look like yet - it will likely be a short blog post every few weeks highlighting a few of the small changes we've made, successes we've celebrated, or recipes we've liked.

That's it. Pretty simple stuff, but it feels good to have it down in writing. Now that my plan is in place, on to the next step: actually doing it.

{Linking Up}
the Grant Life


  1. I really need to make a meal plan...I am your newest follower from the Networking Blog Hop! I would love if you would check out my blog and if you like what you see please follow back :)
    Modern Modest Beauty

  2. Hey! I made this menu board http://www.dearlylovedmist.blogspot.com/2012/02/menu-planning.html from an idea that my MIL saw on Pinterest (I think). I didn't know how often I'd use it and if it would work for me, but I REALLY like it. It's so practical. I also left off the days of the week just so I could have all the items in my house to prepare any of the 7 meals. It's been a super great thing to have. Just thought I'd let you know in case you hadn't seen it on Pinterest yet. :)

  3. Ha! I just remembered that you already commented about it on my blog. Oops. :) I'll be waiting to see what plan you come up with!

    1. Yes! And I loved it! Might be my next craft night project...

  4. Just headed out with my grocery checklist....thanks for passing it along:)

  5. I just wanted to take this food moment for thanking you for introducing me and later, my family, to the wonders of mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Be sure to make them a part of your plan. Regularly. They are a kind of a vegetable.


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