Do you find it hard to carve out time and meal plan? It’s easy to get into the habit of dining out, but Jes gives you tips on how to train yourself into making the time and cooking up healthy and delicious meals!
Hi everyone, it’s Jes. I’m here today to give you a quick walk through of my menu planning system. With school starting, and work schedules changing up for my husband and myself, I needed a plan for meals that worked better than the “What sounds good today” method. My first step was planning out what type of meal I’d make each day: Monday-Leftovers, Tuesday and Saturday-Crock Pot, Wednesday-Pan Fry (basically anything stove top), Thursday-Freezer Meal, Friday-Take Out, and Sunday-Roast. This worked well, but it still felt like we were eating the same handful of meals over and over. I decided to sit down and revamp my system. For each day, I came up with subcategories such as meats and styles of meals. For example, on Tuesday, I could choose from: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Veggies, Ham, or Turkey for my crock pot meal. Once I had all my categories and subcategories noted, I put together a simple list of meals for each category and subcategory. Under chicken I have five meal ideas for the crock pot, five stove top (pan fry) meals, five freezer meals, and six ideas for left overs.
I know you’re probably looking at this and thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of work. I wouldn’t have time for that.” It is a lot of work. However, it wasn’t completed in a day. I put this together over the course of a few weeks. It’s still a work in progress, and I’m sure it will get changed up as I find meals that we don’t care for, or things that aren’t working for us. I created a Pinterest board to hold any online recipes I found, and I’m slowly adding my family recipes to my bullet journal.
On a standard recipe page, I include the recipe, whether or not it can be frozen, and a few ideas for leftovers. I try to re-purpose my leftovers to make them more interesting, so it’s helpful to have ideas already noted when I look at my recipe.
I have a couple pages like this where I put together a few weeks of menu plans. It’s not set in stone. I do change things up some weeks when I’m just not in the mood for a particular meal. However, it’s nice to have a general outline ready for me, because it saves time in the long run. Another thing that saves me a lot of time, is doing all meal prep ahead of time. Sunday is my prep day. I prep as much of each meal for the week as I possibly can. Sunday is also the day I make a batch or two of freezer meals as well. Most crock pot meals can be frozen. So for each meal I prep for the week, I almost always do double, and freeze part. Sometimes, on super busy weeks, I don’t prep at all, I just pull from my freezer inventory.
My final time saver is grocery lists. I list all the ingredients for a week of meals on their own grocery list. This makes it super fast and easy to add those items to my master shopping list for the week.
How do you meal plan? Leave a comment below and let me know. If you use any of these methods please tag me on IG @jes_planning so I can see! You can also go and check out our Pinterest page for many other planner ideas!