Meal Planning: strategies for eating well at home all week long

I’m a planner.  I like planning trips, my week, and especially meals.  It really gets my motor running to plan a theme meal.  I might like it better than eating it.  I get it, I’m a little strange.  

When I was a single lady, I didn’t cook a lot on a regular basis.  I’m sad to say that I lived on quinoa, chickpeas, and Kashi cereal.  I’ve come a long way in my cooking.  But I do have a great Greek quinoa salad if you need it! I digress. 

 When I got married, I had someone who was really hungry for real meals!  Every. Day.  The man can eat and is very active so he needs proper nutrition.  Enter: meal planning.  Back in the olden days, I would sit down with my food magazines, newspaper clippings, cookbooks, and random printed recipes to plan the meals for the week.  I learned a few things: 

  • I really didn’t need to plan everything out for every meal. I think if you have more than 2 people you might but this is meal planning for 2 adults who eat a fair amount. 
  • Pick 2-3 main dishes for the week  that can be repurposed into a new meal or used in a new way.  The best example of this is a roasted chicken.  
  • Salads that improve over time- hearty greens, cabbage, root vegetables tend to improve as they soak up the dressing.  
  • Pick something new to make.  This eliminates boredom. Plan to make it on a night that you have more time or on a weekend.
  • Also, have some tried and true recipes that you can make in your sleep. A fried egg will suffice!
  • If you work/go to grad school/have a life, the crock pot is your new best friend.  I know I wouldn’t have eaten nearly as well without it.
  • Plan to go to the grocery store one time in the week.  It saves a ton of time.  Plus, the grocery store is not a place you want to be.  Ever.  
  • Pick a theme for your meals for the week.  It will help you use up all your produce before it dies a slow death in the crisper. My go to theme is tex-mex.
  • Don’t be afraid to go outside what you are used to.  My mom wouldn’t have ever made breakfast for dinner but that doesn’t mean I can’t! Plus, you probably have all those ingredients right now.  

 In the last three years, I have converted to the meal planning program, “Plan to Eat.” It works really well for me.  I also like that my husband can reference it if he wants to help me out.  Yes, it costs a bit of money, but it’s very low and to me has been completely worth it.  That’s going to be a personal choice if you need or want to use something like that.  It’s a lot easier and less clutter to not have tons of clippings scattered around the house!  

How do you meal plan? 


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