Let me set the scene for you. It’s Monday, early evening. I’m sitting at the kitchen table desperately trying to get my super neat meal planning worksheet to print. It is totally organized, with the days of the week and meals on one side and the grocery list on the other. I originally designed this thing years ago and have fine tuned it to fit my needs perfectly. I love my meal planning worksheet.
The only problem is, it won’t print. Our printer has decided that it doesn’t want to connect to any devices. I’m frantically trying to re-install drivers, turning everything off and back on again. Nothing is working.
I bemoan the fact that it is grocery shopping day and I have no way of printing my meal planning worksheet, thus have no way to make a grocery list. William, with uncharacteristic patience, looks at me with the utmost kindness. Without a hint of laughter in his voice he says, “Hannah, why don’t you just write it out on a normal piece of paper?”
At first, I was aghast. Make my meal plan without my fancy worksheet? Does he even know me!? However, after a few moments of trying to get the stupid thing to work with no luck, I decided that perhaps he could be right this time. I pulled out a legal pad and jotted down seven dinners. I wrote my grocery list on the back of an old index card. My shopping trip was successful.
I still really love my meal planning worksheet, though. Here’s a link to the printable if you’re interested. Make sure that you un-check “Show Gridlines” in the print options if you decide to use it.
My actual meal planning process is pretty simple. Flora and William are both creatures of habit when it comes to food. William takes lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Flora only takes lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a few staple options for breakfasts and lunches on heavy rotation that I can choose from for them each week. I take dinner leftovers for lunch, so that’s easy.
The usual breakfast column:
The usual lunch column:
- tuna or chicken salad
- bagel with cream cheese
- cheese and crackers
- sliced fruits
- sliced veggies
Dinner can be a little bit trickier. We all have weird food hangups, so it can be hard to make dinners that everyone likes and will eat. I try to have pizza and burgers in the entree rotation every week because William really likes them. (Note the salad for me and Flora on those days.) A few times a month, I like to try a new recipe. If everyone likes it, it becomes part of the regular rotation. Sometimes we have to switch meals around due to schedule issues. I try not to let this bother me too much.
Once all of the meals are planned, I look to see what we already have in the cupboards and fridge/freezer. Anything that we do not have, I put on the grocery list. At this point, I try to remember to check on everyday items that don’t make it onto the meal plan. Otherwise, I’ll forget things like tea and coffee and nobody wants that.
Do you plan your meals? What are your personal tips and tricks?