Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meal Planning, Week #1

Today I want to share with y'all how we plan our meals.   I usually plan our meals out for two weeks in advance and I'm keepin' it real by saying usually.  The past month or so I haven't done this and we've been all out of whack when it comes to dinner time. 

So, to hold myself accountable I'm going to share our weekly, or bi-weekly, menus with y'all.  First - let me explain my system.

The only thing I plan specifically is our dinner meals.  Breakfasts are usually varied and consist of a choice of the following:

  • Annie's Bunnies cereal (I've gotten a different kind every time)
  • Organic Pomegranate-Cherry Toaster Pastries and Scrambled Eggs
  • Grits and Eggs
  • Spiced Vanilla Sugar Toast & Eggs (the Spiced Vanilla Sugar from Savory Spice Shop has forever changed our traditonal cinnamon toast breakfast)
  • Oatmeal with Dried Fruit & Nuts
  • Pancakes (on occassion)
Lunches for Kalyn are usually a ham or turkey & swiss sandwich and either fresh cut veggies or fruit.  Kalyn is on a particular kick with Swiss cheese - I don't know what it is but that's the only cheese she wants lately.  We use Hormel Naturals lunch meat without preservatives, just in case you wanted to know.  Dave and I will have a sandwich or leftovers for lunch.

Ok, so with those meals out of the way - supper is the challenge!  This is a chart I made for how to organize my meals.  Sometimes I just print out the chart and handwrite our meals in and sometimes I type it up.  However, there is always (with the exception of the last month, of course) one on the side of our fridge. 

This week, I printed out the chart to fill in.  Here's how it works for us -

I fill in the meals we want to have in the larger rectangles and leave the outer small rectangles blank.  I'm not disciplined enough or something enough to plan out what we are going to have for specific days, so this gives us freedom in the meals we plan and shop for.  There are some days that I know exactly what we will have so I write the date in the smaller rectangle next to that meal.  Mostly though, I plan a few days out at a time.  I do this for a couple of reasons - well, one in particular.  In the past, I would plan out specific meals for specific days but when something would come up and we needed to switch things around, my 7-year-old's world would get thrown out of orbit for some reason.  This saves our family some drama when things come up and we need to move things around.  This way, I know what we're having but we're not too committed. 

Anyways... When I'm ready to shop I use an awesome grocery shopping app called Grocery Gadgets.  The most very coolest part of it is that I can update any of our grocery lists from my computer at home to our iPhone - no matter where it is.  When my husband is at work, I can create a list of things for him to pick up on his way home, with a picture of the exact item and quantity, and it syncs wirelessly up in the clouds.  Instantly.  It's beautiful.  

I make a separate list for each meal that we will have on the list and all of the ingredients needed for that meal.  Then when it's time to shop, I go onto the computer and merge the lists together that I want to shop for.   See (below) where it says manage lists?  I can go there to clone and then merge all of the lists I want to shop for.  I do it this way so that the meals I make regularly always have a list with all the items needed for them. 

Say I was planning on making blueberry muffins, Pad Thai, and Ginger Chicken... I merge all of those lists into one.  Once I do that, I go through the (now) master list and delete the things I have on hand.  And did I mention it automatically, instantly updates on my iPhone?  Then I go shopping and bring home what I need for the next few days! 

See- I can merge this list with any other I have created and voila!  A new list!


It may sound complicated - and it did take awhile to get it set up - but it has been so worth it when it comes to actually planning for meals and shopping.  It now takes about half the time to plan my list and see what I need. 

This is how I plan our for what we will have in the next two weeks.  Here is our menu!

I know some of the items are hard to read - I'll work on this for the future!  Also, I take into account that on most Sundays I will make a meal for dinner and we will have something for supper as well.  It's typically leftovers, but this way I can make sure I am covered. 

Do you plan meals for your family or do you hit the grocery store before and make a decision there?  Leave a comment and let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Great insight! I will have to see if the Android market has a grocery app. I go to the store with a list for certain meals. I also like the flexibility to choose which meals I have each night. I tried to plan out meals for specific days and it didn't work for us as well either. I don't always do this really well, but I try to write down the meal choices so Jer can have some input in each night's meal. My weakness is in lack of time and patience to try new things with food.