What’s for dinner? Killer question because it’s something that is asked every stinkin’ day! Meal planning is a super important part of being organized. I have a simple strategy for organizing this sometimes stressful time of the day by doing one thing: planning!
Why I meal plan (and why you should too)
- It saves my sanity. There’s nothing worse for me at the end of the day being hungry and not knowing what to have for dinner.
- It saves me money. When I don’t have a plan for dinner, one of two things happen – I scrounge around for something that can be made quickly, or we head out for dinner. And it’s much more expensive to eat out than it is to cook at home.
- It helps shape my day. I plan the second half of my day around dinner. Not the eating part of it, but the preparation part of it. Some dishes take longer to prepare. When I have a meal plan, I know how much time I should devote to being in the kitchen for meal prep.
- I get my kids to eat different things. I’m always on the hunt for new dishes that will satisfy the often picky palates of my kiddos. Meal planning ensures that I can spread out the new meals so I don’t challenge those picky palates too much!
- It makes me feel like an organizing rockstar. I do have to walk the walk, and being organized in this area helps me do that!
How I meal plan: Two crucial factors
The two most important things I consider when meal planning are the family calendar of the next week and the weather. Kinda weird things to base food choices on, huh? Let me explain!
The calendar of family activities and my work schedule completely rule my life. I’m a pretty busy lady – I volunteer for two PTAs, my local alumnae Delta Zeta chapter, and my church and am involved with a few entrepreneur groups, in addition to meeting with clients and making rocking products to help people get organized. The kids have their sports and activities and my husband plays volleyball and sports and also volunteers at church. It would have been much easier if I’d just said we were really busy (aka just like everyone else!).
If we have early activities, then I know I’ll need a meal that is not as objectionable to those picky palates and usually one that has easy prep too.
And the weather? I am not turning on the oven when temps are over 80 degrees, and likewise, a cold salad isn’t ideal on a 45 degree day.
With these two factors in mind, I have designed many calendar and meal planning printables that I have available in my Etsy shop. These printables are so helpful for staying organized while meal planning!
After figuring out what type of meals I’ll need for each day, then I pull out my phone and check out the recipes saved in my Paprika app. Depending on what my mood is, I’ll try to find a few new meals to try or I will look some tried and true meals that everyone likes. I then fill in the meal planning chart and shopping list that I’ve printed off and I’m off onto the next activity on my schedule.
When I’m focused, I can get a full meal plan and shopping list together in about 15 minutes. It’s a pretty small amount of time to devote to making a huge step towards staying organized for the coming week.
Over to you!
Is meal planning something you struggle with?
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