Sweet Pea’s Side Dish: Weekly Meal Planning
Welcome to the sixth edition of “Sweet Pea’s Side Dish”, where once a week I share with you what’s going on in my life besides food. This is a place to share with you what is going on in my life, baby stuff, our traveling adventures, and whatever else I feel like rambling on about that week. This week I want to share with you my Weekly Meal Planning tips and tricks and how planning your meals can save you time, money and stress.
There are two types of people in the world: those who plan and those who wing it. For the longest time I was one of those people that would never plan our meals for the week, I would just wing it, going to the grocery store multiple times in a week. I’d usually just pick whatever looked good only to come home with nothing to cook for dinner. My refrigerator was always packed so full and I would always end up throwing out groceries that had spoiled simply because I had forgotten about them.
Cooking at home during the week can be extremely difficult if you don’t have a plan, that’s why I like to sit down every Sunday morning and plan out our meals for the week. I usually choose five meals that are staples in our house, tried and true recipes that I know everyone will love. For the remaining meals I go through cookbooks, magazines, and my Pinterest boards to find 1-2 new recipes to add into the rotation. I also check out the local grocery ads and try to plan around sales in order to save a little bit of money. Not only does planning out the weekly menu ensure that you are going to have a home cooked meal (instead of quick run to a fast food joint because you didn’t plan) it also has the added benefit of saving time, money and your sanity!
The first thing I do before I plan my meals for the week is go through our pantry and refrigerator and make a list of perishables that need to be consumed. Then as I am writing down the recipes for the week I can incorporate those perishables into our menu so that I don’t end up throwing anything out. While I’m writing down the menu I keep a separate list of ingredients that I might need to pick up at the grocery store. I then look through our pantry, freezer and refrigerator to see if we have the ingredients or if I need to pick them up. I keep an updated list of all the items in our chest freezer so that I don’t end up buying an unneeded pack of chicken or ground beef while at the grocery store. By writing down a grocery list of only what I need for the menu plans, I can stay focused at the grocery store and only buy what we need.
Our Weekly Meal Plan is pretty straightforward, it includes what’s on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One day of the week we plan on going out to eat and another day we have our weekly Xena Night with friends, if we are not hosting Xena Night for that week that only leaves us five dinners to plan. After writing out our Week Meal Plan, I place it on the refrigerator so that there is no question as to what to eat for each meal.
Listed below is an empty Weekly Meal Plan. Print it off and add your own dates and recipes.
Do you plan your menu for the week? Do you have any tips or tricks that make for a better weekly meal plan?