January 16, 2008

Planning Meals

For years I've debated the value of planning our meals ahead of time. Numerous menu schools-of-thought have been tried. I have learned some things along the way.

For example, I've realized that planning our daily dinners doesn't fit my way of doing things. I wake up in the morning, look at the menu and think 'I don't feel like cooking that today!'. *Sigh* Much to my dismay, nothing has really worked out for us; or I've just not stuck with it.

Until now! More recently, I've grown tired of the children asking 'what's for breakfast or what's for lunch?' and decided to regulate this area of feeding the family. SO...our current plan is that each month, I sit down and plan the breakfasts and lunches for the month. Yep, you heard right. For the month.

Each day of the week has a different assigned food plan and we eat the same thing each week (for only breakfast & lunch). The plan for February is being worked on, but here is a snapshot:
All Mondays breakfast and lunch will be waffles, fruit and OJ/tuna sandwiches, carrots, pretzels
Each Tuesday is oatmeal & toast/bagel pizzas & cucumber slices

We've been doing this plan since September and it's working wonderfully! The children actually enjoy helping me plan. At the end of the month, we change it up and include different items. I keep the month's menu for future reference and to repeat at some point. It's allowed me to shop once a month for staple items on the list such as bread, pretzels, or oatmeal (we store the bread in an extra freezer). Then weekly or so I shop quickly for other fresh items and for dinner items.

For dinners, I make a weekly list of 8-9 different things we would like to eat (nothing is assigned to a specific day) and shop for them. I choose one each day to cook and rollover the others to the next week. I keep a little notebook full of each week's list so that it's easy to quickly think of meals to make by simply looking back at what we've enjoyed. That idea has worked well also. Yes!

It did take some initial planning and thinking through, but the effort has been very worth it. This Mama is happy now. p.s. these are not pictures of our meals. :o)
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