Sunday, March 18, 2012

Easier (for me) Meal Planning

Meal planning is a big deal. Although my intentions are good, I've realized it needs to be as simple as possible for me to make it work (see original post).

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I tried and...voila! 2 weeks in, so far so good.


  • Baseball card protector sheets + 3" x 5" index cards cut in 1/2
  • 8.5" x 11" sheet protectors + 8.5" x 11" paper
  • Dry erase marker

Method (see corresponding images below)

  1. Front of card: meal (including sides), cookbook shortcut and recipe page number (Disney Family Fun Cookbook recipe on page 82 = DFF-82)
  2. Back of card: all ingredients for meal
  3. Separate page: list all ingredients and rough quantities and sleeve into sheet protector (add a check mark to the end of each ingredient for the amount of times you'll be using it) This works for me rather than a master grocery list because it cuts down on my prep time before heading out to the grocery store. Each meal has a grocery list ready to go.
  4. Ingredient inventory: cross out all ingredients you already have with dry erase marker and add missing ingredients to your weekly grocery list. I keep my weekly grocery list on the cupboard and add thing to it as we run out: milk, spray cooking oil, tissue, etc. 
Follow Up

  • Photocopy and/or scan winning meal plan
  • Archive winning meal plan and corresponding grocery list together (back to back) in 1 sheet protector in Meal Planning Binder 
  • Shuffle cards to make new meal plan for weeks to follow using same/different meal plan cards
  • Baseball card protector sheets seem to come in packages of 10, which is plenty, don't buy more than that. In theory I could have 10 weeks planned (I don't) and some weeks archived. This is looking promising, isn't it?!
  • Hand write it, it's faster and more relaxing than being on the computer. It doesn't have to be really pretty because nobody is going to see it but you and your family...and maybe your friends who you really like. This project can take effect immediately and P.S. it's ongoing.
  • * Use the remaining 2 card slots to house A) Suggestions for breakfast and lunches and B) Desserts and snacks. List ingredients for these on the back of the cards and add to weekly grocery list.
  • Don't feel bad pitching a loser meal
  • Don't hesitate adding a recipe you've never tried. You can always pitch it if you don't like it and white-out your grocery list of the ingredients.
  • Don't hesitate adding wild cards like Sushi, Pizza Night, Go Out To Eat, Sandwiches in the Park,  Invite selves over to Grandparents (haha!) and so on! You don't have to make every meal, from scratch, at home, every day.
  • If you go out for dinner or plans change, you can have that dinner meal for lunch the next day or freeze it for another day.
  • Write the date of winning meal plans on the top corner of the archived sheet (maybe one day meals could be organized by what is in season, but it doesn't have to be that organized today, or ever)
  • Feel free to add notes to archived sheets (who liked what, good for a potluck, etc)
  • Swap out [sides, spices, etc.] if you like to be more spontaneous, if something is on sale or if you have a serious craving (I just wouldn't swap out too much in one week)
  • Don't forget to wipe the dry erase marker off of the page protector
  • Get the family involved in meal planning while you sip your drink of choice and supervise. Let them pick meals, do ingredient inventory, photocopy or scan winning weeks, do prep work at meal time, why not? Well, maybe after you have your goal number of weeks planed ;)
Good luck and let me know if this works for you or what you thought!

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...