Tip #1 — DON’T MAKE A BIG GIANT DEAL OUT OF IT.
Sometimes we drive our own selves crazy. Don’t go intensely into it. Just start. Scribble a list. Don’t make a list of gourmet meals you have never cooked before. Begin with your regulars. Don’t read 400 blog posts about it and 2,317 Pinterest recipes.
- Pull out a piece of paper
- Go to your kitchen
- Open your pantry, your fridge, and your freezer
- Write down the main dish items you have on hand
- Add a side dish or salad
Tip #2 — DON’T PLAN MEALS FOR THE NEXT MONTH!!
Start with the next five days, or week at the most. What are you going to fix tonight? Write it down. Take the meat out of the freezer if need be. What would you like to make tomorrow out of the stuff you have on hand? Write it down. What else is in your freezer or pantry? Write down a third idea. Then a fourth. Then a fifth.
Tip #3 — BEFORE YOU GET TO THE END OF YOUR LIST THINK ABOUT THE NEXT WEEK
If you have written down five days’ worth of meal ideas, don’t wait until day #6 to think about the next 5-7 days. Think about it on about Day 4 (or 3).
What is something your family loves? Write it down? What is something that stretches into left overs or lunches? Write it down. What is something that is easy to double for a freezer meal that can be on your list in a week or two that will give you a “sort-of” day off? Write it down. What is something you or your family loves but you can’t seem to remember that one ingredient needed to make it? Write it down (and jot down the ingredient so you add it to your shopping list). What about the basics? Want a hamburger night? Grilled dogs? Soup and sandwiches? Pizza night? Write it down. Just because it’s basic does not mean it isn’t meal planning. Everyone loves the basics from time to time.
Looky there. You made a week’s worth of meals list! And you have a couple of easy ones, a couple of favorites, and maybe one that you don’t fix all the time.
Now make a quick shopping list and then sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.
Tip #4 — WORK THE LIST.
Do not — DO NOT — over-complicate your life by taking 10 minutes to make the list and then ignore it.
ENJOY THE LIST!
Enjoy it. Think about other stuff. Peek at your list in the morning, pull out what is necessary for dinner. Then go live the day! You are not a slave to “What am I going to do for dinner?” You aren’t a slave to the kitchen. You aren’t a fast-food-fallback anymore. You have a plan.
Who cares if it is a simple one? It’s still a plan.
So, we are having stir fry tonight. Because it was on my meal plan I bought a couple of fun vegetables I don’t normally buy to add to the dish. My chicken is thawing and my veggies are in the crisper drawer. I also have a bag of cauliflower rice already made. Dinner will be a snap. And yummy. Now I can knit all day. (I wish.)
What is on your list for tonight? Seriously? What is it? Type it in the comments so others can get inspired and steal your idea.
Meal Planner For the Freedom of it