I think about food a lot.
I mean, like a lot.
But, as much as I think about it throughout the day, the thought of dinner usually doesn’t even cross my mind until about 5 pm. That includes deciding what to make.
Seeing as how I like to have dinner ready between 6 and 6:30, that can sometimes create a problem. A frantic, what-can-I-pull-out-of-the-freezer-or-pantry-and-heat-up-real-quick sort of problem.
That is, unless I sit down once a week and create a weekly meal plan.
I used to do it religiously. Every Sunday. Then I’d grocery shop on Mondays and would be all set for the week. Easy, peasy. I even wrote a Peek of the Week post on it back in March of last year. It worked so well, and reduced the stress of coming up with something creative not boring every single night. It freed up so much time not spent trying to think of something, it left me with more time to think about other things. Like what to have for breakfast the next day.
Then Summer happened and I fell out of all sorts of routines, just as the rest of the family did.
It was sort of awesome.
However, fall is here and it is high time I get myself back into gear and resume some order at the 5 o’clock hour. The kids have their weekly chore charts, so in a sense this will be part of mine.
(Not that it is a chore. It is actually kind of fun. As long as I make sure to set aside a little time in which to do it.)
(Which usually ends up being late Sunday night, but whatevs.)
I have to thank the lovely Laura at MommyRunFast for the very (virtual) kick in the rear that I needed, and for inviting me to take part in her What’s For Dinner Menu Planning Challenge and Link Up.
For the whole month of October we will all post our weekly meal plans on Sundays, keeping us accountable and on track.
Aside from reducing the stress of deciding what to make every night, there are many other benefits to meal planning.
- I make fewer trips to the store because I make a list of everything I will need for the week and stick to the list when shopping.
- We save money because I am making fewer trips, buying only what we need, and nothing (or very little) goes to waste. And I really hate to throw away food.
- I involve my family and take requests so they feel a part of the decisions and are more likely to be excited about what is for dinner.
- When we know ahead of time what to make, and have all the ingredients on hand, we are less likely to resort to convenience foods, or whatever is “quickest”. It is especially helpful to take our schedule into consideration when planning–on busier nights I plan quick-to-prepare meals, or prepare them early in the day (like a crockpot meal), whenever possible.
So really, even though sometimes it can feel like yet another thing to do before I can go to bed on a Sunday night, it really is worth the effort and makes for a much easier week. It is a win-win.
And now, without further ado, here is my dinner menu plan for this week:
- Monday: Black Bean Taco Salad with Apple Salsa
- Tuesday: Quinoa Fried Rice
- Wednesday: Veggie & Tofu Fresh Rolls with dipping sauce (yet to be determined)
- Thursday: Fresh Corn Salad & Vegan Bean Burgers
- Friday: Homemade Pizza
- Saturday: Cucumber Salad with Peanut-Lime Viniagrette and Potato Curry
- Sunday: Dinner Out (we’ll be at the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival)
I am keeping things pretty simple this week as it is going to be a busy one!
Check out Laura’s post to see all the other menu plans–it is sure to be a great source if you need some ideas and inspiration for your own menu planning purposes. And, be sure to link up if you are so inclined!
Question: Do you menu plan on a regular basis or do you just wing it day to day?