How to Plan Your Meals for the Week

This is my thing over on Instagram, but wanted to share some thoughts behind my meal planning goodness.

Meal planning saves us time, money and worry.
Let’s get to it.

Meal plan 12/17/2017

Usually early Saturday morning, I creep downstairs and make a really messy list of all the ingredients that we need to use up. It’s a real ugly, back of the envelope kind of list.

On this list, I take note of rotisserie chicken carcasses, wilty green onions and potatoes that might just be starting to sprout. (Those foods you really don’t want to toss quite yet.)

Then, I quickly review the pantry. Sometimes, I have a random half cup of corn meal that’s just bugging me. Sometimes, I need to use up one of the 6 giant cans of crushed tomatoes that are taking up too much room. Sometimes, I become obsessed with using up a can of evaporated milk and I take it from there.

This food-we-have list is not the meal plan, it’s the map to the meal plan. I scratch things off, circling and drawing connecting lines. I look at what leftovers we have and what leftovers we will have so that we can minimize food waste and maximize our prep time.

The calendar
Once I know what we have, I evaluate my calendar. Just like you, between social events, kid activities and a busy work schedule, we’re pretty booked. Thinking about our week ahead of time, helps prepare us for the events ahead — and more importantly, sets up a sense of happy anticipation.

(When I look at my schedule as it relates to food I look forward to my week, How refreshing.)

Lately, I’ve had more work travel than usual. This means that dinner for James and the girls needs to be ready to go without me.Prepared food is my love language. I plan meals that can either be made in the slow cooker or meals that are ready to go.

Knowing this helps me work with our calendar with a combination of convenience, pre-prep and the freezer.

60% follow rate

Our meal plans are, on average, followed 60% of the time. Some weeks (especially the broke weeks), it’s 100%. Some weeks (the busy ones) it’s 25%. All averaged out, 60% followability.

And like I says, 60% is better than 0%.
I’ll take it.