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Simplify Your Meal Planning

I don’t know why, but for some reason meal planning has always been stressful for me. I know from experience that having a menu planned out for the week makes my week run more smoothly and helps keep me on track getting healthy meals on the table each day.  But even with this firsthand knowledge sometimes I fall into a rut and just can’t come up with a week’s worth of menu ideas.

There was a time in my life that this rut lasted for a long time and unhealthy foods started creeping their way back into our home.  I started compromising on what I fed my family.  Just a little compromise one week, and another little compromise the next, until one day I realized that my kids were in the habit of cold cereal for breakfast every morning and pb&j sandwiches every day for lunch.  Not that cold cereal and pb&j sandwiches are evil (well cold cereal actually is really unhealthy, even the “healthy” varieties…more on that in an upcoming post), but they are definitely not things that bring quality nourishment to growing children.  They should definitely be eaten only once in a while, if at all, rather than as a daily menu item.

I knew I needed to get back on track, but I also knew that I needed something to make weekly meal planning easier for me.  I decided to make a list of all the things that I know my family likes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Now when I go to make my weekly plan all I have to do is choose from my list.  It’s so easy!

My requirements for the list are simple:

  1. Everyone in the family will eat it and enjoy it.
  2. Easy enough to do on an average day
Complicated, gourmet meals do not make my list.  
You might notice that there are only main dishes listed in the “Dinner” section.  I don’t plan for veggies.  I use what is in season, what we get from our produce co-op, from the local produce stands and the little bounty that we get from our little backyard garden.  We eat a lot of veggies and I find that meals are a bit more exciting with the great variety we get.

So, here is my list of tried and true meals and snacks.  What a blessing this list has been to me!  No longer to I flip through a dozen cookbooks and wade through online recipe sites to come up with my menu for the week.  This is simple and simple make me happy.

 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Baked oatmeal

Quiche

Fritatta

French Toast

HB eggs and Fruit

Smoothies

Eggs: scrambled, fried, poached

Pancakes

Waffles

Dutch puff

Leftovers

Nut Butter and jam or honey

Grilled cheese/quesadillas

Veggies and hummus

Cheese and crackers

Turkey rolls

Olives and cheese with raw veggie

Smoothies

Hardboiled eggs

Salad topped with egg salad, salmon salad, or tuna

 

 

 

Homemade Pizza

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Soup/salad/bread(soups: lentil, chicken noodle, potato, taco, Italian, roasted veggie)

Beans and rice

Pasta and veggies (w/butter and herbs or white sauce or tomato sauce)

Chicken or Veggie Fried Rice

Chicken and coconut rice

Spaghetti and meatballs

Breakfast for dinner

Burritos

Tacos

Burgers

Fish

Roasted chicken

Crockpot roast

Cheese and crackers

Muffins

Nut butter balls

Fresh fruit

Dried fruit

Yogurt

Crispy Nuts

Smoothies

Veggies and hummus

Hardboiled eggs

Leftover meat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about you.  Have you found ways to simplify your meal planning?  

8 Responses to Simplify Your Meal Planning

  1. […] lessons.  I keep a list of simple and nourishing lunch ideas that I choose from that you can see here. I also have some great quick and nutritious snacks that I keep prepared and ready to grab and […]

  2. […] Part 1 of Simplify Your Meal Planning, I talked about how to simplify meal planning by making a list of tried-and-true foods that you and […]

  3. […] this week, so we’ll be eating lots of it. Lunches and snacks are not planned….check out my list for ideas for easy lunches and snacks.  See more on snacks […]

  4. […] I’ve mentioned in previous meal planning posts that I don’t plan lunch or snacks.  Find my method for making sure we have plenty of healthy options here and here. […]

  5. […] see what we do for lunches and snacks, go here and […]

  6. […]  Instead I choose from healthy options I keep on hand.  You can see more about that here and here.  Also all meals are gluten free and Feingold diet […]

  7. […] of meal plans, you’re probably not going to see anything new unless I do a major change up of my list.  In reality, I like the simplicity of my system and don’t forsee any changes in the near […]

  8. […] working with a new set of rules.  I know that once I get the hang of it and get my handy dandy Meal Chart adjusted for the GAPS diet, getting my weekly meal plan done won’t be so […]

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