Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Organized?

So, I have been trying to develop a meal planning system that works for us. I figure if I can get that organized, maybe some of the other stuff I should have organized will follow.
I've tried some different approaches to meal planning.  Emeals started the ball rolling.  They provide a seven day a week meal plan--main dish, side dishes and such.  You can choose from several different types of plans. Clean eating, gluten free, paleo, slow cooker, low carb, low fat, classic, etc. are all options. Using it really did help expand our eating options, but I found that we only made five of the seven meals in a given week.  Life gets in the way of good meal intentions.
I decided that I needed to come up with a way to plan our meals that worked better for us--less wasted food from meals we didn't end up making.
My current plan consists of deciding on five meals for the next week.  This gives us flexibility for left over nights, dinners out with friends, or those nights no one wants to cook. I also don't assign a meal to a particular night.  Dinner comes from what sounds good and being able to adjust when we have certain meals to what we feel like eating works better for us.
So, once I determine (with input from Nick and the boys) what we are having for the following week, I check to see what we already have on hand, then make the grocery list--also checking the ads for the week. the meal options for the week are written on a dry erase board on the fridge.  Here I can be as specific as I want to be.  Main dish, side dishes, rolls or breads. Sometimes I write it all down so I don't forget, other times I wing the side dishes.
I like to make things that will make good leftovers.  I'm getting better at taking leftovers for lunch. I spent years with issues with leftovers, but I'm getting better at knowing what I will eat leftover. Nick helps with the leftovers, but doesn't tend to take them to work. Turbo is starting to eat leftovers--especially of things he really likes.  Start them early, right?
I also sat down and made a list of the meals we enjoy and that have been successful.  It's easy to forget what you like when presented with the question What do you want for dinner? Listing them out makes it easier to have a varied menu.  I plan on continuing to add to the list as we add new things we like--if dinner menus don't evolve, dinner gets boring, both to eat and to make.
I'm really hoping this system will end up working for us.  So far so good.  There's less of the dreaded 4:00pm what do I thaw, what to eat dilemma. Now it's just finding the motivation, which is easier to come by when the decision is already made, mostly.
Now to contemplate some more serious type planning, like freezer meals, freezer crockpot meals and such.  Having some go to quick and easy meals might make some evenings easier to deal with. It's all in an effort to make life easier, more streamlined and convenient, right?
How do you get organized about making dinner? Menus planned out and posted?  or do you wing it?  I spent years winging it and it's harder with the boys to feed too.I figured I better get a handle on it before Turbo hits the teen years and has activities and practice and such we will have to plan around.

2 comments:

Jo said...

Glad you found something that works for you!

incognitusscriptor.com said...

Yeah that sounds like it might be a good plan. If my husband ate more than 10 foods, I'd try it; lol. For now, I pick from our limited choices and write them on a white board in the kitchen. He can arrange them as he sees fit and I head to the store twice a week. For now, it's working.

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