Maybe it’s just me, but mealtime is SUCH a pain. I feel like I’m always running out of ideas and now that the girls are in school full-time, afternoon and early evenings around here are really hectic.
I need a plan. A meal plan to be more specific.
There was one summer when I did a great job of planning meals and buying groceries ahead of time. Mealtime was much less stressful and much more pleasant then. So why did I stop? I’m not sure. Things got busy, as they do, and I got out of the habit.
One of my goals for the new year is to reduce the stress I’m feeling. To help with that, I’m going to stop making things harder for myself. When I don’t have a plan (for dinner, among other things) I feel more stress than I need to. So it’s meal plan time!
I’ve found several options for meal planning that I want to share with you. Some are more involved than others, so if you’re interested in making your own meal plans, you should be able to find something here that will work for you.
- Erin Rooney Doland, author of Unclutter Your Life in One Week [my review], has a weekly meal plan template that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and a place for a grocery list. Also, Unclutterer.com has a new sister site called Simplifried. According to the website, “Our goal is to make feeding yourself and your family as painless as possible.” Naturally, I’ve already subscribed to their updates.
- Ivory at Little House in the Suburbs introduced me to Say MMM, which is a web-based meal planning application. If you prefer your tools automated, Say MMM may be the way to go. Even better? It’s FREE!
- Tsh at Simple Mom has a great Basic Guide to Menu Planning that includes her own Google calendar & Gmail planning system.
- Organized Home has a primer on menu planning basics along with some printables.
- Even Microsoft Office online offers a downloadable Weekly Meal Planner template.
To solve the mealtime hassle in my own home, I’m going to set aside some time each Saturday to discuss meal options with my family. From there, I’ll make a list of lunches and dinners for the week and compile my grocery list. On Sunday, I’ll make a trip to the store and buy all of the supplies I need.
I’ll still have to cook amidst the chaos that often accompanies the dinner hour, but I do think that knowing what I’m making and having the ingredients on hand will make the whole event less stressful for me.
How about you? Do you plan your meals ahead of time? Do you think it’s made your life easier?
Photo Credit: gordasm