We all are busy…work, kids and then dinner just sorta creeps up on you. Sure it’s easy to just go through the drive through to pick up food but I know most of us would rather come home to a home cooked meal or at least semi home made meal. Eating out is fun but only if you get to do it once a while and only if it’s somewhere fancier than fast food. Please DO NOT take this the wrong way, I do fast food, take out and junk food and all I’m suggesting is how about planning your meals out for the week to help you save on the last minute, “what’s for dinner mom/hon?” question. Here’s a few things I keep in mind when trying to plan my family’s meal for the week.
#1. What ingredients do I have in my fridge, freezer and pantry?
Make a list, I actually find it easier to write it on a dry erase board for bigger visual.
Catagorize your list…Protein, veggies, starch, etc
#2. What’s on sale this week? Cook meals based on what on sale for the week.
Cooking what’s on sale helps keep you on budget and you are most likely to be eating what’s in season.
This could be a great time to try out new recipes. We like to travel around the world with our meals. I love using this notepad I got from Target when making my list.
#4. ASK YOUR FAMILY….often we forget that our kids and significant other’s have their favorite foods too. Ask them what they might want to eat this week.
Since my kids are older (10,8,5) they get to pick one dish/recipe a week, that way they don’t feel like we don’t care about their likes and it gets them involve in the kitchen. Sometimes we go online and look at menus from our favorite restaurants and pick food from there that we like and try to make that. Here’s a one of my family’s favorite meal recipe, Loco Moco and here’s our go to scone recipe that we make for breakfast even when it’s not fall.
#5. Shop and Prep your food in one day/night.
Take your list and shop, ALONE! Shopping alone keeps me on track and there is no kids yelling “I want this and that!” I love our local FRY’s store because they have a kids corner where I can take my two younger kids to, drop them off and mommy can shop in peace. Bwahahaha. When you get home and you don’t have the time to prep the meals, take the time to write your menu down somewhere where everyone can see it, that way everyone knows what to expect to eat and you will be more likely to stick to the planned meal.
#6. YOU DON’T HAVE TO COOK ALL THREE MEALS OF EACH DAY!
I usually just plan for one meal a day and that’s usually dinner (maybe it’s breakfast for you or lunch) because that’s when we can eat together. The rest of the meals we usually eat leftovers or something easy like a sandwich, cereal or ramen noodles. The weekends tend to be an exception though because my hubby is off and I usually plan lunch and dinner but that’s just me.
#7. The most important rule for me…BE FLEXIBLE! sometimes I switch days around because one meal is easier to cook or I need to make a crock pot meal instead of a baked meal. Relax just shift it around and since you already have all the ingredients you’re good. Oh, and guess what? last minute decision to eat out tonight? It’s okay just move the missed meal to start your next weeks meal plan.
I hope these tips have helped you ease your self into planning more home made meals and if you are already planning meals for your home, is there a tip you want share? I would love to hear from you and to what makes your week go easier with your cooking/eating. I hope you make it a great day.