When it comes to meal planning I have gone both directions, no planning at all and just trying to wing it all week long, to planning out every meal with a detailed ingredient and shopping list at the beginning of the week.
Neither method worked well for me. I lean towards fighting against a strict schedule (I am extremely right brain and never find I can stick to them) but I also don’t like the feeling of never knowing what the plan is and trying to come up with something last min.
Insert the simplified meal plan!
I love this method because it still gives me creative freedom everyday to decide what we are going to eat but it also gives me good guidelines of what types of meals I am going to cook each day. So for instance instead of sitting down every Sunday night and figuring out what meals I am going to make, I have a calendar filled out on my fridge that never changes, but is very flexible.
Monday’s are for simple dinners aka soup, sandwiches, nachos and/or smoothies. Anything that doesn’t take a long time (or any time) to cook and can be ready asap.
Tuesdays are international cuisine night. That includes anything and everything from pasta to tacos to butter chicken and naan bread.
Wednesdays are breakfast for dinner. This is a huge hit in our home and the girls look forward to it! Crepes, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, french toast casserole etc!
Thursdays are family movie night around here and I bake homemade pizza every Thursday for the occasion. Some of our favourites include Margherita, bbq chicken, pepperoni and chicken caesar. You can find our homemade pizza dough and toppings here.
Friday is the basics. I plan to cook a meat, a starch and a veggie. For instance maybe I will make a roasted buttermilk chicken, boil some potatoes, serving them with sour cream and chives and make a simple salad. Or another week it might be roast beef, fresh bread & butter and roasted veggies. Meat, starch, veg … done and done!
Saturday’s are for leftovers from throughout the week. Sometimes this means we are all eating different things haha but that suites our family just fine.
Sundays are for trying a new recipe, which is something I love to do! But when I limit it to once a week it helps with time management, I don’t get burnt out cooking elaborate meals throughout the week, and we save money because I am not constantly buying a bunch of fancy ingredients I may not always keep on hand.
I love working with this schedule because, for the most part, I am cooking meals that are old standbys and I hardly need to look at a recipe anymore OR they are meals that don’t require a recipe at all! time saver! Also as I mentioned when I started planning my week out this way we noticed a huge savings in the grocery bill each month because a lot less food was wasted and most of these meals are simple and require less ingredients.
More than anything the thing I loved the very most about implementing this schedule was the freedom it gave me to be somewhat creative each day within set guidelines. It also took away the feeling of guilt for creating super simple meals like nachos or soup and sandwiches. I don’t know why I used to feel guilty about serving my family simple meals but I did until my schedule told me that that was the plan. Now I just accomplished my goal of making something quick, instead of feeling like a slacker for serving sandwiches and smoothies for dinner lol.
I have created a simple graphic for those of you who would love to try this “system” out and see if its a good fit for you and your family!
I hope you found this schedule helpful! I know a lot of people LOVE planning out exactly what they are going to cook for the week recipe by recipe, and you could still do that with this weekly schedule, but I love to decide (for the most part) what I am going to make the day of but within each days guidelines. Now it does need to be said that some weeks we do fly by the seat of our pants and I have learned to be OK with that. This schedule is meant to make life easier. It is not meant to make you feel like a failure if you ended up eating sushi on Friday instead of your basics! Its supposed to be your helper not your master!
My last tip if you are like me and do enjoy a little less strict meal planning and more creative freedom in your day, is to pull out all your frozen meat at the beginning of the week and let it thaw in a 9×13 pan. I learned this tip from Farmhouse on Boone and love it! I usually pull out a roast chicken if we have one, chicken thighs or breasts, and a package of ground beef. It’s so nice knowing I have a bunch of thawed meat in the fridge and makes deciding what I am going to cook and actually cooking it so much faster!
Thank you so much for stopping by The Beauty Revival! We hope you have a great week!