Today we are going to look at how we plan our meals. Or DO we plan our meals! I know for some, menu planning is the last thing we want to spend our time on. It really does provide peace in our days though. How many times have you realised it's 5pm or your children begin to ask what is for dinner, and you have no idea what you will be making? Having a plan is the first step to peace in this area of your life.
But first, how did you go with your routines? Are you doing the same few things first up in the morning? How about before you go to bed? If you missed my post on routines, you can read it here
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I loved making our meals when I was first married! Such a buzz and excitement about cooking for the man I love 🙂 Several years into our marriage and a year of so after having our first baby, the 'buzz' of meal prep had become drudgery. In helping to simplify my hectic daily routine, my hubby suggested having a weekly menu that repeated itself each week. So our dinners went something like this:
- Monday - bangers and mash
- Tuesday - salmon mornay
- Wednesday - toasted sandwiches
- Thursday - taco salad
- Friday - homemade pizza
- Saturday - we either had visitors over or visited elsewhere
- Sunday - we were out most of Sundays so I didn't need to prepare meals at home
This pattern worked great for a few years. Over time some of the meals changed. But the idea stayed the same. Have the same meal or type of meal every Monday. Wednesdays we went out to our churches Bible study so toasted sandwiches was a meal I could have ready for hubby when he walked in the door from work, he could eat on our way out while I drove us there.
I then began choosing different dishes for a fortnight at a time. I would allocate the dish to a certain day. I found though, that when it came time to prepare dinner, I either didn't allow enough time or begin prep early enough. Or I didn't feel like that meal! What I do most weeks now, is plan out 7 dinners but don't allocate them to days of the week. I tend to stick with about ten or so favourite dishes. Then when it comes time to prepare dinner, I choose what is going to work for that evening with the amount of time I have, or what I feel like eating 🙂
Most of the dinners I prepare at the moment, can be ready in 30 minutes or less. A few examples are Taco Salad, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Coconut Tuna Curry, Fish with salad.
Once I have planned out our meals for the week or two weeks, I write out our grocery list. I usually shop at Aldi first, as I can and have, saved us quite a bit money shopping there. Then I will purchase the rest from Woolworths and our local fruit and veg market. It depends on the week how I go about our shopping. Most weeks, I will shop at Aldi one day, when we are over that way. Then another day, I will shop at Woolworths. When we are near the fruit shop, I will go there. Other weeks, if I have a chunk of 3-4 hours, I will do all three in the same trip.
Some weeks, to stretch our grocery budget, I will eat from our pantry and freezer. So to menu plan, I will actually go through our pantry and freezer and see what meals I can come up with. Then I find that there are only actually a handful of items that I need to purchase.
I ensure that I always have ingredients on hand to make our three or four favourite breakfasts. Then each morning, I just decide which one we will be having.
- Sundays are always smoothies - quick and easy on our way out to church
- Saturdays - pancakes - because it is a slower morning with Daddy home
- Monday - Friday - we have either porridge, eggs, yoghurt and fruit, or smoothies
I usually plan lunches in a similar way to our dinners. I have several favourites that we always have the ingredients for. In winter we usually have a variety of soups that we rotate through. And the warmer months are mostly salads.
These are very rarely planned. Often a snack will be fruit or veg sticks, yoghurt, smoothie if that wasn't our breakfast, healthy baked goodie.
You may find some of these links and printables useful in helping you plan your meals.
Menus and Meals
Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning
What are you having for dinner tonight? Pop it in the comments below 🙂
Follow me on Instagram - ewehopeblog - and see what our meals look like.
In case you missed them, here are the other posts in this series Get Organised