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Meal Scheduling Made Easy

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Meal SchedulingWhen I first got married, my husband and I ate out a lot. It wasn’t that we could afford it, it was more that it was easy and more convenient. Sure, I liked to make new recipes occasionally, but still I had a hard time figuring out what to make and what to buy each week at the grocery store. As we became more budget savvy, I realized I needed to figure out ahead of time what I was going to make so I didn’t buy extra food we didn’t need.

I remembered how my mom meal scheduled growing up and I adapted her style. It was a huge help! We started spending less at the grocery store, ate most meals at home instead of going out, and bought just the right amount of food that we needed each week.

As the years have gone by I realized that most people do not meal schedule and I do not understand why. It’s easy, convenient, and helpful! I have watched family and friends who do not meal plan, wonder what they are going to make each night for dinner. I have watched them come up with random ideas only to realize they do not have all the ingredients they need. This is why I love planning ahead!

Meal Scheduling Made Easy:

Why Should You Do Meal Scheduling?
1. You can prevent buying too much food or food that you don’t need.
2. You can know ahead of time what you are making  for dinner each night.
3. It’s very convenient and flexible.

Now I only meal schedule my dinners since that is when my whole family is home, you can do just dinner or you can apply this and do all three meals a day! Doing just dinner has worked for us since we are still a small family of three.

Making a Meal Schedule.
During the week I keep a pad of paper on my refrigerator. Whenever we run out of something or I think of something I am going to need to buy I write it on that pad. When grocery day comes around, I look at my list and figure out what else I need. Then I plan my meals for the week.

You don’t have to make fancy meals, anything will do. I use recipes from pinterest, and recipes online and from friends to help me out. I also have a book of recipes I have saved that I know my family likes and will eat. I still make new recipes quite often, but I have my book of tried and true recipes to use for each week as well.

When planning my meals I think of my week. What days are the busiest? Those days you are going to want to make a quick and easy meal, or something in the crock pot. What days will you have time to cook? Those are the days to test out new recipes or spend time on old favorites. Once you have that figured it all out you can put in what recipes where.

For example: Wednesday nights we go to church so I would plan to make something quick and easy. I would put something like tacos or hamburger helper on my meal planning schedule or even leftovers since those are all things that can be made in little or no time at all. So let’s say I put tacos down for Wednesday night. I would then check and see what I needed to add to my grocery list so I could make that. I would add taco shells and seasoning, refried beans, and I would make sure I have cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

Meal SchedulingSo a week’s meal list would look something like this:

Monday – Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Tuesday – Chicken in the Crockpot

Wednesday – Tacos

Thursday  – Leftovers

Friday – Out to Eat

Saturday – Pot Roast

Sunday -Spaghetti

That’s it! Very easy. If you know you are going out to eat one night, or that you are going to someone’s house for dinner, then be sure to plug that in too. Now I know you are wondering how in the world can thisbe flexible? Well let me explain.

Just because I put soup for Monday and tacos for Wednesday does not mean I have to make soup on Monday and tacos on Wednesday. There are times that it will be a long day and I don’t want to make a big meal so I will make tacos on Friday or Spaghetti on Thursday instead. Or if I feel like eating yummy post roast on Monday and I have time then I might do that instead. You can be flexible because you already bought all the ingredients, and you have your meals planned. You just switch it out with something else.

Now I keep my meal list on my refrigerator on a pad of paper. My mom however would write it on a dry erase board. You can write it and put it anywhere you like. What’s great about having a list like this is that the rest of the family can look and see what you are having for dinner too without having to ask every night.

Have you meal scheduled before? What are some ways you tried it?

 

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8 Comments

  1. We meal plan! It’s so easy! There’s no struggle when making a gorcery list and our grocery bill has reduced! I can’t believe we didn’t start this sooner!

  2. We meal plan, but I think I do it slightly differently than what I’ve seen on other blogs and even this one. I don’t plan when we eat specific meals. When I plan my grocery shopping I sit down and figure out a minimum of 5 meals to make in the next few weeks (there is always a few additional meals that I can make at any given time, such as grilled chicken with a side, chicken salad or even “brinner” – breakfast for dinner). So, once I figure out my 5 new meals I determine what ingredients I have and what I need to buy. When I get home I simply add the 5 or so meals to a dry-erase board I have on my fridge that I title as “Menu.” That way I always know what we have that I CAN make at any given time. When the day starts I generally have an idea of what my day will be like and what we may be in the mood for by the time dinner rolls around, so I choose something off the menu to make and lay out meat if necessary. Sometimes I plan to eat specific meals on certain days based on circumstances in our week, but that I just keep in mind until the day comes rather than specifically writing it down. Then, when a particular meal is no longer available (i.e. all the leftovers are gone as well) I simply wipe it off the “Menu.” I think this system works great for our family because I generally have a plethora of meals to choose from and it can always be tailored to our specific tastes each day. Basically, I love meal planning and I have no idea how we were getting by before when I would simply go to the grocery story and just buy whatever struck my fancy.

    1. Love this! Mine is really very similar. I write it down, but I keep in mind what I have and I change it around if I feel like having something else that day. I love reading what works for each family! 🙂

  3. Thanks Kath for this…I get frustrated daily about what to cook to the point of now hating to cook. But reading this has given me renewed hope. I am going to try it this week. Thanks again x

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