Every Sunday morning, after I’ve served breakfast, I have a routine that I’ve grown to love. I grab my cup of coffee, a pencil and my meal planning worksheet and get to work. In my house, I have to cater to a three year old with food allergies (dairy, egg, nuts, and sesame), a husband who doesn’t eat 98% of vegetables, rice, soup, or fish, and myself, someone who is always trying to ‘be good’. On top of this, as a full time working mom, there is simply no other way I can make it through the week if I don’t plan on Sunday morning. The past two years I have used the same weekly template to help keep me organized. I enjoy that it has places for me to write in our weekly activities, as well as helpful hints of how I can keep my house clean. (Sadly, I almost never follow through on that!)
I always start by thinking about what protein I already have in the fridge and freezer. Then I try to rotate the chicken/turkey, so we don’t get too bored. My husband loves wraps, so we have some kind of wrap once or twice a week, depending on how busy the week is. On most Wednesdays we have burgers or steak to break up the white meat. Friday nights are reserved for either frozen California Pizza Kitchen or Nutella Challah French Toast. With that, my husband is pretty set.
As for myself, that’s where the real planning comes into play, as I also take my lunch to work more days than not. I love dedicating Sunday to planning and cooking. Very recently I made an easy 5 ingredient chili, vegan slow cooker lentil soup and sweet potato-quinoa soup all in one morning before even going to the gym! Also, I am a big fan of spaghetti squash, and have been known to roast entire bags of frozen vegetables just to have leftovers ready to go in a moment’s notice.
For me, Pinterest has been a life saver. There is little that I enjoy more than pinning new recipes to try. I especially love being able to search the vegetable or protein I have handy and find a new recipe that I would have never otherwise thought of.
Sadly, I must admit, my son is in the chicken nugget, hot dog, sausage patty, pasta rotation. So, whatever he hasn’t had for lunch is what he has for dinner; but he does eat whatever vegetable I am having. Small victories!
On most Sundays by noon, I have a clear idea of how the week will roll out at meal times, and often have done most of the prep. I only meal plan for the work week. The weekends are up for grab nights or takeout/dine out. Of course there are nights when it doesn’t go according to plan, and I end up stopping for takeout on a random week night, but I would say 98% of the time, I am successful in executing the weekly menu.
Do you meal plan? Why or why not?