Grandma knows that dinner time can be one of the most stressful times in our homes. Can a meal plan really help? I think it can.
Some of you don’t like meal plans because you don’t like to be locked in to having a certain meal on a certain day. Maybe the menu says spaghetti, but you’re hungry for soup. If that’s the case, then you have to look at your meal plan as a tool, not a tyrant.
When I plan my weekly menu, all that means to me is that I have the things on hand necessary to make all of the meals on my meal plan. In any given week, it is rare for me to prepare all of meals on my meal plan, and even rarer for me to prepare on the night’s I have planned. Let’s face it, sometimes life gets in the way of our best laid plans.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop planning. I’ve already talked to you about using your grocery store sale flyers to your advantage. Let’s assume that you have already checked for this week’s sales, and you already know what you have in your freezer, fridge, and pantry.
With all of this information at your disposal, it should be a quick and easy task to come up with 5-7 dinners that you can prepare using ingredients that you have on hand combined with ingredients that are on sale this week.
Go ahead and write down your meal plan for the week. Post it on your fridge or somewhere in your kitchen. That way, you will be reminded to take anything from the freezer in time for the appropriate meal.
Now you are ready to hit the grocery store(s), confident that you are buying ingredients that your family will eat in a reasonable time. Having a plan will help you to limit those impulse purchases, too.
I use a magnetic meal planner pad that I bought at Michael’s for $1. I like this method because I can keep it on my fridge. I also like the space at the side labelled “Shopping List”. I don’t keep a shopping list there, but I use that section for a short inventory of the leftovers that are in the refrigerator. This list is a huge help to Grandpa if he is home for a meal, and I’m out. It’s also a great reminder to me to use up those leftovers instead of throwing them away.
Here’s my actual meal plan for the week. You can see that I divide the squares to plan lunches and dinners. Most of you would not need to do that, but since we are retired and are home for most of our meals, I like to have a plan.
If you’re not a meal planner, I encourage you to give it a try. Next time someone yells, “What’s for dinner?”, you may actually have an answer.