February 21, 2009

Meal Planning part TWO

Now I know that everyone that reads my little blog got straight to work and didn’t start finished their dinner’s list!

So we will move right on to step two. This part is the most aggravating part. It is perhaps the most time consuming and it is also the hardest part for me to explain in type without talking in circles so bare with me and here we go.

Part Two:

If you have Excel you can re-create THIS page on your computer if not you can probably use google docs spreadsheet program and get the same results.
Start filling in your “dinners” only into the above spreadsheet. DO NOT worry about sides or desserts at this point. I used to do a 4 week rotation but I recently switched to 8 weeks and I love it. You can choose which way you want to go.

As you fill in the dinners pay VERY close attention to what comes on Monday following Sunday and place Chicken, Beef etc. meals apart – You don’t want to have Chicken Pot Pie on Sunday and Chicken in Dumplings on Monday for example. You also probably don’t want to have a week of chicken and nothing else.
Mine looks like this - but read below before you start

IMPORTANT: You need to give yourself one SCRAP meal each week. For us this is Veggie night. This meal can be moved to any other night if you forget to defrost your meat or just can’t pull off dinner that night.

IMPORTANT: Remember how you sorted them Easy, Hard and Splurge- You only want one hard and one splurge meal per week! (see mine for example of how it can look)

IMPORTANT: If your family eats out once per week still fill in all the days you can use your scrap meal as an out night. For example – if we go out to eat it is usually on Friday so I put my Veggie night on Fridays each week. Veggie night is baked potatoes, salad and a fruit – so I can sub these into any other meal easily and don’t have to throw anything away if we don’t eat them. It is also very easy to sub veggie night onto another night when I have to. (thus why Veggie night is my scrap night)

IMPORTANT: If your family likes to try new things – you will also use your scrap night for that each week. On your shopping day you can decide to add a meal and take out scrap night or leave scrap night (veggie night in our house).

Are your 4 or 8 week rotations filled in? Ok, then - Now

Print these CALENDAR pages

And start adding your rotation to the actual weeks. USE A PENCIL. Write the dinners at the top of each day. I filled my in for the whole year because I know this works for our family. You can start with 8 weeks or rotate through a few months or the whole year. If you do the whole year…consult your real calendar for vacations etc.

Once you have your dinners filled in on your calendar pages you can break out your SIDES list. Remember when I told you to do dinners that MOST of the family will eat. Well, this is where you can make sure everyone has something they will eat on their plate. As you fill in the sides look at who will eat and who won’t and plan your sides accordingly.

NOTE: my sides rotate with my meals so if we are having steak it is always steak, salad and potatoes (non specific on how I will prepare those potatoes)

NOTE: We don’t do a lot of dessert around here, if you do fill that in after you do your sides. I make a dessert twice per month at the most – so mine don’t make the calendar.

I will post the grocery planning for the calendars you just made. You can place your calendars in a binder or tack them to the fridge. I like the fridge IN YOUR FACE approach.


Bonnie said...

I'm looking forward to getting going on this! I love the way you organize. It may seem hard but I know it saves a lot of time in the future! Thank you!

Courtney said...

I really love how you are making this so easy for me. and the calendar is perfect! now if I could just feel better. can you make that happen too :)

Allison said...

I am hoping to get started on my stuff tonight after the kids go to bed! I think this is going to be a lifesaver.

Lindsay said...

I am always forgetting to plan sides.. I have a bunch of frozen veggies and I'm always running out. I certainly need to add meal planning my sides!