In the first post we talked about why it is so important to be meal planning and last week we discussed how to get everything in order to plan your meals properly. Today we are going to talk about putting your meals in place in the most effective way for you and your family. If you haven’t read the first two posts hop on over and read those through first and then I’ll meet you back here.
Don’t worry I’ll wait.
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Ok! Before we get started here you should have a full month calendar that is somehow marked so that you know what day you will be out longer or not home at all. Or maybe you are like me and have your husband’s schedule marked for when he will be home for dinner. You should also have a list of recipes you love or want to try and you should have your creative list to help you through the brain block. Do you have those? If not go back to post 2 and get that done. I’ll be here when you get back. If you already have these things let’s continue.
Ok good! Let’s get started!
First thing I do is glance over my recipes and try to group like ingredients together. By this I mean the things that call for one cup of chopped onion or carrots so that I can utilize what I am buying at the store. If your recipe calls for one cup chopped onion you don’t want to throw out the other half of onion right? Remember that cash register every time you throw food away….cha-ching cha-ching.
Start plugging in your meals.
Now when I am looking at my calendar I see the days I have marked that hubby will be home so I might plan a few of his favorites like steak and potatoes or pan seared salmon. You may choose to follow your creative list or plan out your crockpot \freezer meals first. You can do this however you feel fit and what works best and easiest for you.
I try and keep a lot of variety in our weeks pertaining to the meat that I use. This makes it last longer and also insures that we are getting a balance between red meats, fish,chicken….. you get my point.
Once I have a good majority of the days of the weeks filled in I will look at where we have bigger meals like casseroles and plan a left over night. I try to have at least one a week. To help with this try and think about how much your family usually eats and go from there.
You don’t have to do a whole year’s meal plans at one time just try and get through a month at a time. If I have the time sometimes I will try and get three months done (if the kids take a good nap). If not that’s ok. You can come back to this step.
My hubby tells me that he would be perfectly fine with having the same things every month. Maybe you want to use the same month all year? I however like to try new things and learn new skills (plus I have a board on Pinterest just full of food to try) so I choose to do each month different. We do have repeated meals that are favorites. If we I try a new recipe and it totally fails with the family I will cross it off and find a new one to try.
Maybe you want to plan six months and rotate them that way? Another great thing about a year meal plan is it you are trying to loose weight you can keep track of what you are eating throughout the year (minus what you eat that isn’t on your meal plan) and see what it does for you and easily make changes to your plan. This can be done anyway you want it to. It’s your meal plan. Have fun with it!
I know that this may seem overwhelming at first and may take some time but the more you do it the easier it gets. I promise. Start with a month and see how it goes.
The best part about it is that you only have to do this part one time! I don’t meal plan any more. I have the whole year already planned out. Now all I have to do is make some minor tweaks here and there and I am done!
Let me know how you guys are doing with your meal plans and if you have any questions be sure to leave me a comment.
Until next time!