It's five o'clock and the panic sets in. You know you are about to get the dreaded question,"What's for dinner?" and you don't have a plan. I feel your pain! I know that panic feeling and that dreaded question all too well.
When Kenny and I first got married, I hardly ever had a meal plan. We ate bad, really bad. Luckily I got my act together (mostly!) and started meal planning. I haven't looked back. Yes, of course, we have the occasional, "Oh crap! I haven't thought about dinner" nights and that's ok. For the most part, our meals are planned and our grocery trips are much easier.
With the ringing in of 2018, there is no better time than now, to kick start that meal planning. So here is an updated version of my menu planner to help get you started. (The first I did was very basic and in excel. Yes I love to use excel and yes my sister made fun of me for using it to plan meals, but whatever!)
A few tips when planning your meals:
- If you are using a recipe, make sure to make a note on your planner of where the recipe is. For example Pinterest Recipe on "Soups" board, Page 121 from Pioneer Woman Cookbook, etc. This helps when you are trying to make the meal and can't remember where you got that meal idea from.
- Try to find meals that use similar ingredients to make the same week. For example Monday Beef Roast and Wednesday Beef and Noodles. This will help you reinvent some of those leftovers, save time on your meal prep for that day and of course save on the grocery budget.
- Be a little flexible. There are many nights that I don't cook what I planned on Tuesday but instead make the meal I had planned for Thursday. That's ok! There are just some days you aren't feelin' what you had planned or some evening activities lend better to another recipe.
- Keep a few weeks worth of blank menu planners together on the fridge. When you run out of something and need to add it to the grocery list, it is easy to add it to the next one.
- Save the menu plans! This is a great tip because you can just pull out your stack and look through them when you sit down to plan the week's menu. Sometimes you forget about meals you made, meals you love or just want an idea to change it up. After you do it a few times, you can start just repeating the meals and it makes your menu planning even easier.
Happy Menu Planning Friends!!
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