One of the motherly/wifely duties I struggle with staying on top of is menu planning. I always feel this pressure to come up with cute little meals that everyone will love, cleaning their plates and asking for more. As you can imagine, this rarely happens.
I have tried several Fantastic Ideas which worked for maybe a week before I got bored or overwhelmed with them. That tends to happen to me a lot — I get all psyched about something but it ends up being too much work and I stop doing it or using it.
One of the ideas I tried was going through my recipes, fixing ones I chose, then Brandon and I rated the recipes on a scale of 1-5. If they were a 4 or 5, they went into a rotation of 15 recipes that cycled through. Wow. That was ambitious. Let’s just say there is no “rotation” talk in our household these days.
Another thing I tried was a program called E-Mealz. While I like the concept (pre-planned meals and shopping lists based on your needs), I ended up trying to customize the meal plans and it ended up being more work than it should have been.
I also tried doing a basic “theme night” every week. Monday – Grill Night, Tuesday – Casserole, etc. Then our schedules got weird and I couldn’t find any good casserole recipes with low enough PointsPlus Values (Weight Watchers).
So now I’m back to a pretty basic meal plan: meat + veggie + grain = meal. It’s working well and I don’t feel nearly as stressed about grocery shopping as I used to be. Less stress means a happier me.
One thing I’m proud to say that I mostly keep up with is a laminated (contact paper covered) meal outline on the fridge. It’s laminated so I can use a dry erase marker on it and can erase it easily. I got the menu outline from OrganizedHome.com, their printable Household Notebook section. Some day we need to talk about my laminating obsession.
I want to hear how you plan your meals. Are you a Meal System kind of person or Go With The Flow? Does planning meals stress you out? Tell me. I’m all ears.