I am not a consistent nor organized meal planner. Now that Mr. Bee and I are empty nesters and there are no growing children to constantly feed, I am able to plan meals on the fly, usually as I do my grocery shopping. And this is okay for the most part. I have a repertoire of meals in my head, plus the cooking experience to know that I can come up with something we will enjoy. We usually do not eat out or order in and our meals are fairly healthy.
But I would like to up my game and have more variety in our weekly meals. Also, I realized that I do get repetitious and prepare the same dishes over and over. Let’s face it: eating is one of the pleasures of life, but it takes planning to make it truly so.
I really wanted to make the planning process less onerous and so I created a printable sheet where I can list my meals under categories. This sheet has proved helpful in several ways.
The idea I came up with to make meal planning easier is to categorize each day according to the routine that is established already at our house. For example, Monday is healthy meal day. We may have over indulged on the weekend, so Monday is a day to have a lighter meal. Sometimes it is a vegetarian meal but sometimes we have a salad with chicken. The weekends are grill time, although now that we have our first ever gas grill that may change. I have Thursday as leftover day to remind me of my goal to have less/no food waste. On that day my plan is to use our leftovers in pasta or on pizza or any way that I can to come up with a new meal.
I write in pen those meals that I make regularly. But if I plan to try a new recipe I will add it in pencil. That way, if it’s not a keeper I can remove it from my list of tried and true recipes. This planning tool is a new one and I will probably tweak it as time goes by.
I have two templates today. One printable has the weekdays categorized for our preferences. However, if you would like to set up your own categories, say crockpot Wednesday, or salad Tuesday, then there is a blank template for you to add your own categories.
How do you meal plan? I would love to learn about different methods.