What is that one thing that is going to save you both time and money?
Oh, and stress.
Let’s not forget that. Saves you stress.
You know what I’m talking about.
And you know you’re supposed to do this.
Maybe you’ve already started this good practice.
And started . . . ?
Yeah. Me too.
So since we’re being honest with each other? I’m going to come right out with it: I’m terrible about meal-planning. Absolutely terrible.
What’s worse it that I know it would help me out and it’s not all that hard to do.
But still I don’t do it.
Maybe because it’s one more thing to do. Takes time and thought.
So then dinner keeps sneaking up on me. Every. Single. Night.
On most nights, I just have to wing it!
I think I’ve tried nearly every system out there and, while I don’t have anything against any of them, I haven’t found anything that works for me.
I began using this method for meal-planning last year and I am sold on it.
I love it!
And now I’m sharing it with you . . . in case you end up loving it too.
What do I love about it?
- It’s simple.
- It family- friendly.
- It’s quick and easy.
What more could you ask for?
Okay, here it goes . . . . (complete with illustrations!)
A Super Simple Menu-Plan That Really Works
1. Come up with 7 Categories of Meals. I’ve noticed every family has their own kind of foods that they enjoy. Brainstorm just a bit to think what sorts of food these would be. You can also vary them according to the season.
Example: Chicken, Pizza, Soups, Pasta, Mexican, Thai, Beef, Salads, Rice Dishes, etc.
*Sorry about the coffee smudge in the middle of the page . . . but you know me 🙂
2. Come up with 4 kinds of meals for each category. This is easier than it sounds. Like this:
Chicken: Barbeque chicken, Chinese chicken, Roasted chicken, Chicken enchiladas, etc.
Pasta: Spaghetti, Fettucini Alfredo, Macaroni & Cheese, etc.
3. Designate a Category for each night. I try to think through our basic family schedule and what our needs are for each evening. For instance, on the day we’re in town for much of the day, I might designate as “easy dinner night” or “crock pot night”.
Example: Monday is Chicken Night. Tuesday is Crock Pot night. Friday is Pizza Night.
4. Get out your calendar and start plugging it it! Bonus: If you come up with 8 dishes for each category, then you have 2 months worth. Or maybe your family is fine with the same basic meals each month. Maybe you’re adventurous and want to have a designated Try-A-New-Recipe night. That’s fun too!
Side-Dishes: Personally, I don’t worry so much about the side dishes. I can usually come up with those easily enough. If you’d like to include them in your menu-plan, however, I’d use the same approach and brainstorm your side dishes and add those in as well.
Here’s the beauty of this super simple system: I don’t have to think.
Or, at least not too much.
I just wake up on Monday morning and already know that it is Chicken Night. That means I simply start by pulling chicken out of the freezer.
That was easy.
And when the kids ask me, “What’s for dinner tonight?” I can boldly proclaim, “Chicken!” and it increases their confidence in me.
And increases their confidence that we are actually going to have dinner that night.
Two big points right there.
And if all else fails?
It’s alright, I’ve been doing it for years . . . . 😉
*What tips or methods have you found to help with menu-planning? Any questions (other than why do we keep egg cartons on top of our fridge – long story)?
In His grace,
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.