One of the most frustrating things for me about being a full time SAHM is dinner time. My kids seem to have a self destruct button that goes off right around 4 pm. By the time I finally get dinner on the table, they act like ship-wrecked castaways seeing a rescue boat. This makes dinner time hard enough. What makes it harder is staring blankly into your refrigerator wonder what to make for dinner. Meanwhile your children morph into hunger-crazed monkies around your feet, howling and writhing in agony (or is it just mine?).
Making a weekly meal plan will allow you to know what’s for dinner, help you shop more efficiently, and you will waste less food. Menu planning, hopefully, will make dinner time a more manageable family activity instead of feeding time at the zoo.
1. What’s for dinner?
Here’s my system. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s quick, easy, and like immigrants, it gets the job done (I threw in a Hamilton reference for all you other fan girls out there).
I write what we are eating each day of the week on white 3×5 note cards. I write three things:
- the main entree
- what sides go with it
- the day/ date
I use a board with screws drilled into it to hang clips that hold the note cards. This way, I have a visual for the whole week right in front of my face, because there aint no way this Mama is remembering what I have planned off the top of my head. The night before, I look and see what I’m making for the next dinner. I defrost any meat I will need in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Shop more efficiently
Once you write out what you are making for the following week, get out a list and write down all the items you need to buy for meals. Doing all the planning and list making in one shot will save you time and energy. It will also ensure that you don’t overbuy when at the store and that you don’t forget any items.
3. Waste less food
Since I’ve started writing down what sides we are eating with our entries, I’m wasting less produce. In the past, I would go to the store and buy a bunch of vegetables with the best of intentions. But then I’d forget what I’d bought, things would get buried in the fridge, and I’d eventually find them but at that point they had already gone bad. Sound familiar? However, now that I pre-plan the sides, I don’t overbuy on veggies, and I remember to use the veggies I’ve bought.
In a meal planning rut? I keep the note cards I’ve used the week before behind the current weeks note cards. Then when I’m in a rut, I look back and see what I’ve made in the past and get inspiration from that.
What are you tricks and tips for meal planning? Do you dread it or love it? Know a friend who could use this, I’d love if you shared it with them via Facebook or Pinterest (share links below)!