1. Pick a day to get it done: This for us would be a two day process. We (or really I) look through the store circulars on Thursday/Friday when they arrive in the mail, and compare them to the coupons I have. This starts the menu process! After figuring what is on sale, we start to look through our cookbooks and determine what we would be in the mood for. I currently only plan dinner meals but am going to start planning other meals and snacks, as soon as this actually becomes part of our routine. For me the best day of the week to shop is Sunday. I’ve tried various days including Monday but have found Sunday is the best because it allows me to take my time in the supermarket, without rushing through the store.
2. Look at the week ahead: "When it comes to picking meals for the week you’ll want to grab your calendar and consider what’s going on that week." This could never be so true - between Mr. working late, my tutoring and aftercare programs, and Little's sports schedule - it is mayhem!
3. Let each family member have a say: My husband and I generally like the same things but I like to include his favorites (as well as mine!). I usually let Little pick out a meal or two, and when American Idol was on, we would invite my parents over for dinner. He would even cook part of the meal.
4. Ensure Balanced Nutrition: This is SO hard because we usually just focus on the main dish (the meat/fish/chicken part) without putting much thought into the rest of the meal. This does not make for a balanced dinner at all. I am hoping that in the future we will have a more nutritious dinner planned out!
5. Incorporate simplifying techniques: I have found that picking “theme nights” makes planning easier and more fun. UM. right up my alley!!
"The last simplifying technique I use is pre-prep. Every night before bed I look at what’s for dinner and do pre-prep if needed. It’s either taking meat or fish out of the freezer, chopping fruit and vegetables, making salads or putting together slow cooker dishes for the morning. The key is to do most of the work ahead of time so the preparation part is easy." Organizing Junkie couldn't have said it better.
If found this menu chart with meal ideas. If you don't have a chart yet, this could come in handy! I happened to find a really cute shopping list/menu planner at Target. It is currently on the side of our wine fridge - where we can write down what we may need for the following week.
Happy meal planning!!