Saturday, July 20, 2013

Meal Planning - My Way!

I know that there are 1,000,000 sites out there with meal plan help but I thought I would put this out there amongst them, and maybe someone may be helped with my system that I have fallen into.

"Fallen into" because I too am a conglomerate of all I have learnt and read over the last 23 years of homemaking. There are also seasons when I haven’t planned meals because I have not wanted the structure or have just been too lazy to get my act together.

But each time I return to meal planning – from super structured to generalized – I always feel better knowing what we will eat for the next 7 days 3x a day and that the right groceries are in the house.

This has never been more needed than in the last 9 weeks as we have been going through the kitchen renovations (this is a link to the Pinterest board I have created showing all the stages) and I have been very limited in the cooking apparatus.

I have allocated each child to cook one meal a week on their own (my youngest still gets my help), one night is a slow cooker meal for me and I cook the other meals in whole or part. I choose meals (all 3 daily) according to our schedule, as there are 3 nights in the week that I am out with one or two of the kids until 6. The “left behinds” then have to cook the dinner. The one night that no one is available is the slow cooker night.

So here is what I do…on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings.

Take a peek into the garden, fridge and freezer and make a mental note of what I have to use in my home.

Sign into Cozi. It’s free to use, but I bought a years membership, as I needed a few of the additional functions for my older children.

Go to Meals. It will open up the 7 days ahead of you.

On another tab I open my favorite recipe blogs or recipes I have bookmarked. I also have a few standard meals that we do once or twice a week and I always have the same breakfasts and lunches on a weekly basis.

My current favourite food blogs are: BudgetBytes and Amazing Paleo.

Then I simple plug in the meals I want each week night based on what I have in the freezer, fridge and garden first. I also keep my iPhone Cozi App open while doing this on the shopping list page. I add to the list whatever I need to buy when going to the shop on Monday or Tuesday.

If I choose a new recipe, then I immediately print it. I assemble all the recipes in a flip file and leave that on the shelf for the kids to have available to them when they need to cook.

I find being out of the home a great way for the kids to learn to problem solve, rely on their own skill, or lack thereof, and while they know I am available to them on the phone if they are really stuck, I am encouraging them to do this completely on their own. I only tell them when they should start the process so that we can eat between 6 and 6.30pm.

Well, that’s it…hope it helps someone, I find that the 20 minutes it takes to do this all is paid back over and over when there are so many curve balls that can happen in mum's lives J


africanaussie said...

Oh thank you for that - I have been wanting to try meal planning, and that looks like a great site. I just entered everyone's birthdays and all our appointments, so nice to have it all in one place. I have been adding recipes I want to try to evernote - now I just want to work out how to sync them together, then I will be one very happy camper..

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

I am glad it helped you!