Meal planning is a great way to organize all of you meals for a week, a fortnight and even a month! It's simply sitting down and writing out all of the meals you plan to eat ahead of time. This cuts down on food expense, waste and virtually eliminates those times where you are standing in front of the fridge thinking, "What the heck am I going to make for dinner?".
I learned how to make a meal plan "menu" from my mom. Smart woman. I made my first menu my first week out of my parents home which was my first week as a wife and right before my first grocery shopping trip and have been hooked ever since. I actually still have it! (After typing it, I am now acutely aware of how creepy that is.)
I plan my meals a week at a time. Sometimes every two weeks but more than that tends to get a little overwhelming for me. Every Sunday evening I plop down and devote time to deciding what we will have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. My weekly plan includes notations for special events we have going on that week; like, Wednesday- Birthday party at 6:00PM means we won't have dinner at home. Tuesday- Bible study till noon then errands in Fort Worth means I'll be beat when I finally get home so I had better have a crock-pot meal that day. Like that! I used to write everything out on a weekly calendar sheet that had a special space for every meal, preparations I needed to make and a list of ingredients I needed to buy. Now, It's not so fancy, unless you count the colored sharpie I write down everything in. A piece of notebook paper works fine. As I mentioned before I saved about two years of menus in a binder. If I'm feeling a little lost as to what to add to the menu, I take a peek at what I have planned in the past. Menus are posted on the fridge for easy reference throughout the week.
There are lots of little blogs and websites to help you get started on your meal planning. RecipeZaar.com not only has a plethora of recipes, but they have a system that allows you to save meals in a cookbook and create a menu as well as supplying you with nutritional information for your meals. I think they charge a small fee for a membership, however. Here is another link to a free recipe calculator to find out how healthy your home cooked meals really are!
THIS is a great article that details the benefits of meal planning. A good read for sure. And then there are places where people blog about their menus like here, and which also have templates and tools to help you plan. If you're feeling like you can't do it...YOU CAN, but if you just can't, this is a site where (for a small fee) they do all of the work for you. Well there you have it! So start planning!!
AND because I know so many of you really care....here is what I have planned for this week to help get you started!
B- Eggs and sausage
D- Venison brisket, baked potato and yellow squash
D- Julie's house for dinner - bring side dish and dessert
B- Gluten Free waffels with P.B or yogurt
L- Soup, salad and sandwich
D- Red beans and Rice with cornbread
B- Scrambled eggs with toast
D- Fried Chicken, corn and green beans
D- Crock-pot chicken, green beans and carrots
L- leftovers + salad
D- Venison back strap on grill, oven baked fries and fruit salad
B- Soaked Oatmeal
D- Spaghetti and salad
Snacks and Dessert
cucumber w/ salt and vinegar
hummus and carrots
graham crackers and peanut butter