Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meal Planning 101

Or something like that!

I am by no means an expert but this is what I do...

1st - I get my calendar out and I see what we have going on for the month.
Then I cry about how busy we are for a few minutes.
Then I pull myself together and get busy.

2nd - I get out a piece of binder paper, my pen, my cookbooks and food magazines and park myself on the couch by the laptop (in case I need a recipe or inspiration!) I number the paper from 1 to 30 or 31 depending on the month. Or 28 or 29 for those of you that are all technical like ;) And write the day of the week next to it ie M T W etc so it looks like this....
1 M -
2 T -
3 W -

3rd - Then I see how many quick meal nights we have on the books. These are sport nights, meeting nights, and whatever else we might have planned at night nights. On these nights I write in one of our quick and easy staples like baked potato, sandwiches, quesodilla etc

4th - This is the fun part! Once I am done filling in the boring "quick meal" nights, I start going over the meals I want to make. I buy mostly local foods so I cook whatever is in season. Right now the summer fruits and veggies are winding down but Fall is gearing up! I LOVE to cook so I try to add a few meals each month that challenge me with new techniques and some that will challenge my family with new flavors. This can take a while but it is fun for me so I don't mind. I have a bit of a cookbook problem, I can't stop buying them! I also love food magazines - right now I am loving recipes from Real Simple, Sunset and Yum ! I could spend hours pouring over the pages and rereading all of the recipes and articles - total joy!

5th - After I have it all figured out I make a grocery list. And voila! All done :)

I grocery shop in stages...
Once a month I go to Costco.
Once every 2 weeks I get a box from my CSA.
Once a week I go to the farmers market or other local fruit and veggie stand.
Once a week I go to the grocery store.

Sometimes I put the menu on a weekly meal planner that hangs on the fridge. Sometimes I just hang the binder paper on the fridge. It isn't a perfect system, sometimes I forget to thaw the meat or plans change. But, when that happens I just try to roll with it and swap meals if necessary or just flat out pull out something different. Anyway, this is what I do, I hope it helps!


  1. Even though I only do a two week meal plan, I love that I am not the only one who does this!! My friends think I am a freak, but since I have almost the exact process you do, I don't feel so weird anymore. Thank you!
    Oh, and I know that you write out your grocery list by the aisle, just like I do. ;)

  2. I love Everyday Food magazine. I get so many useable recipes out of that thing!! I definitely recommend. :o)