As a work from home mom with young children I always dreaded the five o’clock hour when it was time to figure out what we were having for dinner. I would get stressed out because the meat was frozen, I didn’t have the right ingredients, or I just didn’t want to think about it. A wise friend that was also a work from home mom told me about her weekly meal planning. From that day on I have been a weekly meal planner and it has revolutionized my five o’clock hour! No more stress, healthier meals, so much less time, always have the ingredients I need and the big one is it saves money- I don’t give up and go out to eat all the time, and I shop more efficiently.
Here are my tips on a weekly meal plan: (I usually try to plan two weeks at a time)
1. Establish a weekly food theme to help you select your meals.I learned this trick from the Food Nanny! It really has helped me tremendously in planning our weekly meals! For example Meatless Monday, Italian Tuesday, Wednesday comfort food/ soup, Thursday Mexican, Friday Grill Night, Saturday Leftovers, Traditional Sunday. I don’t always stick to this food routine but I do more often than not!
2. If you have an evening that is particularly crazy because of activities, then choose an easy meal that night every week. Plan to throw something in the crock pot that will be ready when you need it.
3. Once you have your food theme it is time to gather your meal ideas. Pull out those pinterest recipes, get out your cookbooks, ask your family for their favorites, etc.
4. Take stock of what you already have and utilize those things in your meal planning.
5. Write down your menu, then begin your shopping list. Go through your recipes and have everything that you need for the meals that week so you don’t have to go back to the store later!
6. Keep your weekly meal plans on your computer. If you set up a few weekly meal plans, you can rotate them so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week.
I will leave you with one of my favorite cookbooks! The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner- Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week.