Meal Planning, Part I

There is so much information out there about meal planning. You can find websites, message boards, books, and community groups dedicated to meal planning in various forms. Some people take one day and cook/freeze their meals for the whole month. Some people get together with a group and trade entrees. There are software programs dedicated to this.

I’m just not that technical.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I love lists. I love spreadsheets, I love organization, color-coding, order, and alphabetizing. I jumped up and down and squealed when Nonnie gave me my label maker. All that being said, I just don’t think meal planning is that complicated. I want to share my super-simple method of meal planning with all of you. Today, I’ll tell you what you need and give you some tips on getting started. On Saturday, I’ll share next week’s meal plan and grocery list with you.

The things you will need:

A well-stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Keep the things your family eats on hand. Buy non-perishables like canned tuna and artichokes, dried rice and pasta, and baking supplies when they are on sale. I also like to buy meat when it is on sale and keep it in the freezer. Shrimp, whole chicken cut-ups, and pork chops are all freezer staples.

A magnetic memo pad

Above you can see my “blank slate” stage – I’ll show you what it looks like all filled in on Saturday. Keep the magnetic memo pad on the side of your fridge. As you run out of things (or think of groceries you need for next week), jot them down on the notepad. Encourage your family to write down an item if they use the last of it (and never be without peanut butter or chocolate pudding again!). When you sit down to do meal planning, you will add the dinner ingredients to this list and use it when you go to the grocery store.

So that’s part one. Come on back this weekend for the down and dirty on how I find meal inspiration, how I make my lists, and what you’ll need to buy. I’ll show you the meal plan for next week plus my shopping list and hopefully you’ll get inspired to start meal planning too!

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