My family is just back from our post-holiday vacation, and I have been going nuts trying to get my house back in order. One of the first things that we have to do when we come home from a trip is to do a big grocery shop, but it doesn't work so well if we don't have a meal plan in place for the week(s) ahead. I find it easier to go ahead and plan out our meals for the rest of the month, and then shop week by week. This way, we can stay within our budget. We're really trying to cut down on the number of times we go out to eat in a 1-2 week period, and meal planning is a great way to help us stay on track and save money.
Our schedules in the evening are pretty busy. There are at least four, and sometimes five nights during the week where one of the adults (or both) in our house are involved in meetings, rehearsals, or other activities. Our meals have to be quick and easy, and they have to be approved by my picky eaters. I try to stick to the meals I know my family will eat. One night a week, my husband and son go over to my mother-in-law's house for dinner, and I stay home and work. On those nights, I have a salad or I eat up leftovers. This helps us cut down on food waste.
I keep the meal plan on the fridge where hubby and I can clearly see the weekly meals laid out.
This is a sample meal plan- the one that we're using post-vacation through the rest of January.
Italian Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Caesar Salad
Hamburger Stroganoff, Egg Noodles, Steamed Broccoli
Sausage & Potato Skillet, Steamed Green Beans & Apple Sauce
Steak, Baked Potatoes, Sauteed Zucchini or Salad
Turkey Burgers w/Sweet Potato Fries or Steamed Corn
Ham, Cheddar & Onion Quiche & Salad
Panko Crusted Pork Chops, Rice, Sauteed Zucchini
Dinner at Church or Pasta w/Salad & Garlic Bread
Chicken Philly Sandwiches w/Pan Fries
Homemade Pizza & Salad
Brats with Corn
Meatballs, Egg Noodles, Steamed Broccoli
Pork Roast, Rice, Roasted Zucchini
Dinner at Church or Chicken Fajitas
Hamburgers & Pan Fries or Veg, such as steamed corn
Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
Chicken Alfredo w/ Salad & Garlic Bread
In the next couple of weeks, I will begin planning our February meals. I'll probably change it up just a bit, so we don't get tired of having the same old thing all the time. There are so many meals that I miss having on a semi-regular basis, because my boys won't eat them. Eggplant Parmesan and Chili come to mind straight away. I plan to add in some homemade soups during February and early March, and then in March, I will start making extra meals to be frozen, which we can quickly heat and eat after baby S is born in early April.
Are you a meal planner? It can certainly save you a lot of time, money and trips to the grocery store! What's on your meal plan during January?