Welcome to Friday!
It is a beautiful day outside, can’t wait to take the boys outside so they can play while I sit in a the sun and plan for June. One of my main things to plan is our meals for the month. I find it a lot easier to just plan for the whole month even though I grocery shop every two weeks. Today I’m going to go over my Meal Planning Binder. It was one of the first binders that I started using. There’s definitely some improvements that can be made but so far I’m very happy with the help it gives.
Meal planning is definitely very important, not only for budget reasons but also for sanity reasons. Having two small, very busy boys I definitely don’t have time to decide what I want to make on a day to day basis. Also complicated meals are out. But I also want to make sure that they are eating good homemade food not just super processed sugar filled junk. It is tempting to just eat out and get a quick bite that I don’t have to cook but then my family is eating a ton of fillers that don’t keep you full for long.
Currently my boys are kind of picky so that makes meal planning a little tricky too. I want to have enough variety that they will come out of their pickiness but I want to make sure they are eating enough. I also have not tried to convert my family over to Keto with me. They are all about their carbs, but maybe one day.
The way I have my binder set up dinners for the month have their own page. This to me is the complicated meal so its got to be planned. The way we like it we have three days a week that are the same week to week. We have Meatball Mondays, Burrito Wednesdays, and Pizza Fridays. This is a huge help with planning the consistency makes everyone happy. After those days I have eight options for the other days. This may not seem like a lot but for my family it works. There’s enough options that we aren’t having exactly the same things every week but it’s simple enough that I’m not going extra crazy trying to make and prepare for all these different meals.
A lot of my go-to meals to make for my family are made up of similar things. For example 2 of the 8 options are made up of ground beef as well as meatball Monday. Then 2 use pizza fixings. We also have ham, chicken and sausage. The chicken and sausage are also used for lunches, and on burrito night we usually have chicken burritos. Having similar things also helps to keep the budget down, and also helps to speed up meal- prep but I’ll cover that next Wednesday. On the dinner worksheet I have a place for a few sides.
When I first started meal planning I didn’t include the side but I found that left me frazzled and scrambling at meal times. The main thing is that none of these meals takes a lot of time, and having it set up for the month saves a lot of time and money.
Breakfast, lunch and snacks have a page together. I do this because all of those are more-so options then set meals. I don’t always give my boys an option for those meals but it’s all quick and simple items to keep us moving through out the day. I make a point to make sure there aren’t a surplus of options. Around four to five options for each seems to be what works for us.
As it stands now I only meal plan for my family. Then, for myself I kind of wing it or pick one main meal option that I prep for the week and have mainly snack plates for lunch and eggs for breakfast. In the very near future I will whip up a template to start meal planning for myself. This will ensure that I’m never left wondering what I will have, which will cut down on possibilities of slipping.
It will also keep me from ending up with too many options and over spending on groceries for myself. Too many options can be just as bad as not having enough. With too many options it can be hard to decide what to have, and its more likely that items will go bad before you have a chance to use them all.
Another thing that I want to add to my meal planning binder is a pantry/ freezer inventory list. That way I can keep track of what we have on hand, quickly and easily. This will help with getting the budget under control as well. By tracking what we have vs what we use I’ll be able to really see what we use in a two week time period. I believe it will help a lot not only cut down on waste but help be more organized and prepared. Especially with summer coming up and summer = no time for anything, because the boys want to be outside all the time. This is a great thing but it also means I can’t spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen.
Well there it is my Meal Planning Binder! It is still a work in progress but it is still a huge help. Do any of you keep a meal planning binder? If you do what’s the system that works for you? Please follow my blog and don’t forget to Live draze