Meal Planning 101: Part 3 “Find Your Schedule”
So how did shopping at home go over last week?! Digging through your freezer can be intimidating but hopefully diving in resulted in some inspiration to cook forgotten items and saved you some money at the grocery store! Michelle usually finds some hidden forgotten food gems when she goes searching – last week it was some liverwurst she bought from US Wellness Meats six months ago. In this part, we are going to talk about schedule, that planning aspect of Meal Planning…
By the way, if you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, head for Part 1 of this meal planning series, and here for Part 2, “Shop at Home”.
After you have finished home shopping and have an accurate idea of what is on hand, you can use it to inspire your weekly plan. But there’s one more vital piece to this puzzle: your weekly schedule.
It might take a while to figure that out. Normally families have the same commitments week in and week out, it should be easy to designate predictable daily themes, like meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, and so on, but most of the time life happens and this type of planning doesn’t work.
Have you tried once a week batch cooking?
Once a week batch cooking is another option to try — a.k.a. cooking up a storm one day and using the pre-cooked items throughout the week — and this may or may not work for you. The family has to get used to leftovers and it sometimes this feels like you are just eating the same thing every day!
These options may help you try new recipes, but it might be on your busiest days, or you might wind up with a large amount of cooked food that has to be eaten whether or not you felt like eating it, just to avoid having to throw it away.
Find Your Planning Day
The thing to remember is that every week is unique. Duh! If you are going to be successful, plan meals that actually fit our schedule. Toss out the rules! After all, tacos taste good any night of the week, not just Tuesdays.
So, find your planning day, maybe it is Sunday. Take about an hour and sit with a cup of coffee, cookbook, Instagram, Pinterest, and your calendar planner. Michelle uses the Paprika app to help her planning.
Based on what’s actually on your schedule for the upcoming week, you can better decide which nights you should use the crock pot, which nights you can look forward to cooking, and which nights you will need to have leftovers. Try cooking a few nights in a row, leftover night is much more fun when you have a choice in the matter! Seeing which meals produce sought-after leftovers and which meals are just no good unless they’re fresh will give you more information to help you plan ahead. So, your challenge this week is to make your plan fit your schedule, not someone else’s.
Written in partnership with Shannon Demers