If you know me at all, you know that I love planning … planning vacations, our weekly activities, and even our meals! Every month, I like to plan out our dinners; sometimes our lunches and breakfasts. I know some people like to do it each week, but I find that if I take an hour or so out of my day to plan our dinners for the entire month it saves time and money. It also helps me with stress; if I know dinner is already figured out it’s one less thing to worry about each day!
I thought I’d share my October one this month for you to get an idea of what I do, as well as give some helpful tips so it’s not so daunting to you! This month’s meals don’t quite follow my usual technique as it’s quite busy with meetings, kid activities, and my hubby’s kickball night. I’ll share my system with you below, though!
- Have a theme for each night! Having themes makes it super easy to pull out some recipes for each category and plan. Our usual theme (*remember not this month’s meal plan!) is as follows:
- Sunday- One Pan Dinners
- Monday – Crockpot
- Tuesday – Taco anything
- Wednesday – Brinner (breakfast for dinner)
- Thursday – leftovers
- Friday – Family Favorites
- Saturday – Soup / Salad / Sandwich
- Make sure to look at your calendar before planning – hence my October one! Some nights are going to need to be quick, I may not be home for the crockpot, or we may have some family event and will be eating out.
- Also, use a blank calendar to fill out your meals!
- Plan meals that use some of the same ingredients. This has helped so much on our budget, as well as not being wasteful! For example, if you buy bacon for a meal make sure to have 3 -4 dinners that use bacon that month. If I buy bacon, I make bacon and eggs, bacon jack chicken, BLT sandwiches, and bacon potato soup. Or if you make salsa verde pork carnitas that only uses half the jar, make sure to make another meal like white chicken enchilada soup.
- Have favorite recipes on rotation. I know every month I’m going to make mac and cheese with hotdogs, quesadillas, and pizza. Those are a must because my hubby and kiddos love them! So put those in first.
- Freeze some leftovers to make another entire meal – you get two meals instead of one! For example, make a soup at the beginning of the month and freeze half of it to use for another meal at the end of the month, or make Italian beef and freeze half for a later date as well.
- Make a master grocery list for each month. This allows you to see what you need for each meal.
- This tip is for after meal planning and when you get your monthly groceries. Make sure you prep and divide that day or the next day so you are ready to go. For example, if you buy a family pack of chicken, divide it up into the meals in labeled ziplock freezer bags.
Do you have any other great tips for meal planning?! I’d love to hear them!!!