I am always ranting about menu planning, and how it is so important for leading a healthy life. I just wanted to clue you in on how meal planning does not have to be a major production. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to plan out the week and write a grocery list based off of any recipes I have selected. My menu isn’t pretty. Its simply drawn up on a blank sheet of paper, and by the end of the week it has been slopped on, misplaced at least 3 times, and all crinkled up.
But the menu planning works! Here are the steps I follow when planning a menu:
1. Look at the calendar to have in mind other activities and events such as classes at the gym, meetings, or social gatherings that occur in the evening. This will give me an idea of how much time is available to cook dinner, or that I may not be home before 8pm and to stick with something simple.
2. Automize breakfast choices and rotate between two and three quality choices. Take into account any morning that you have to early or are more rushed.
3. Plan leftovers for lunch or rotate between two and three nutritious choices. Wes usually gets all the yummy leftovers, or he has a ham roll up on a flatout.
4. Schedule dinners according to time and activities. Some nights I don’t get home from the gym until 8:45 and you better believe it’s a left-overs night! I recommend that you use a slow cooker for meals on nights that you may be in a rush or have activities later on.
5. Don’t leave any meal blank. If you know you are going out to eat write it down for that meal. If you leave other meal slots up to chance it is more likely poor choices will be made when there has been no preparation involved.
6. Once the menu is completely filled out, make a grocery list and schedule your time to go the store. Most importantly…. don’t forget your list when you go to the store! Shop from this list and only this list!
I also have a stockpile of these paper menus that I write weekly. If my brain is in a fog or I need inspiration I simply scan through a couple sheets for meals I haven’t cooked in a while. It would be also okay to just reuse the menu as is.
Sunday dinner was delicious mini turkey meatloaves…. this recipe is going to make it’s appearance on rehabbed soon! We had corn on the cob and I had a salad topped with almonds, mango, strawberries and craisins. Next stop, beach for a sunset walk!