Meal planning is difficult. If my husband and I hadn’t set up a routine in our early engaged days I’m not sure we would be strong meal planners. Thankfully we found a system that has worked for us. It may work for you too.
Here are my helpful hints:
1) Set a date and start a routine. On Friday/Saturday we plan our meals. On Saturday nights we shop (because Walmart is way less busy after 6).
Point is: pick a day that you can always go shopping on (I use the word always loosely as there has to be some flexibility). Pick a day that you can always plan your meals on. This has helped us expedite the process SO much. We know that when Friday/Saturday rolls around we best be thinking about what we’re in the mood for for the next week.
2) Use your resources. There are like a million cookbooks out there. And like a bazillion recipes on pinterest. I legitimately don’t even think I’m exaggerating on those numbers and might actually be a little low.
Point is: there are tons of recipes out there that you and your family will find that you agree on and that you want to make. If they are on the internet print them out or write them down so you have them handy (I can’t tell you how annoying it is to have your ipad shut off on you in the middle of a very detailed recipe #firstworldproblems). If they are in books then get some sticky notes and start marking pages.
3)Make a list. This one seems like a duh but I like to point out the obvious. I use my phones built in notes app and then cross things off as we go. My template looks like this:
Fruit and vegetables:
Obviously I’m not a pinterest/crafty person because this literally is all I do. It happens to work flawlessly in my opinion and I don’t plan on making any changes.
4) Use themes. My husband is a salad lover and I am a soup lover. Therefore we have both agreed that we each get one day a week on which to force the other person to eat our food of choice. Okay, so it’s not that mean. But it does help us when we are picking out food for the week. I know that I get a soup so I mark tons of soup recipes and then ask him what he thinks (because really I don’t want to be the only one eating it). He has an arsenal of common salads that we both love and he will pick from one of those.
5) Have standby favorites. It’s okay to eat the same things every few weeks or every week if that’s what you like/love. Plus sometimes it’s nice to A) know the recipe by heart and B) know that if all else fails you’ve got something everyone likes that you can whip out if need be. Our favorites at the moment are: taco soup, taco salad, green monster pizza, homemade veggie enchiladas (recipe coming soon), homemade yumm bowls and grilled stuffed burritos. We may like Mexican food a lot around here. Whatever, it tastes fantastic and has super cheap ingredients. Sold.
These tips may not work for everyone (I’m not single anymore and I have no kids so there’s both of those subgroups) but they have helped us and that’s worth noting in my opinion.