Friday, May 5, 2017

Large Family | Meal Planning

     I love our MOPS group.  I joined it in 2015 after just one meet and have made many friends, my chickadees have made friends, I have been encouraged, and have learned many things. One of the things I have learned is, meal planning. I've tried it before, but without much success. This time I tried it the way a friend, Kristen, at MOPS does it and it works!

Why I meal plan...

     It saves my sanity. Every day I hear, "Mom, what's for dinner?" and "Mom, what can I snack on?" Before meal planning, I had no answer and children, apparently, freak out when they don't know what they'll be consuming.

     After a long day of teaching, cleaning, face and hand washing, diaper changing, emotions, and chickadee chirping and squawking, my brain can't function to come up with a meal. And more often than not, it's something quick and always the same thing over and over.

     I try to purchase enough food and snacks to last the week, but if there isn't a "schedule" for them to follow, the chickadees will eat everything in less than that. So having a visible plan helps the groceries last and not have to buy more during the week. So it saves money to meal plan. It also saves money in the sense that we waste less food. There have been times when I'd purchase food to prepare and then forget about it and they go bad. So meal planning helps me to remember to use those ingredients.

     And last, but not least, it saves time! I look on the planner at the end of the day to see if I need to thaw anything out for the next day or if I need to put anything in the slow cooker over night. When it's time to make dinner, I already know what I'm making and I know that I have all the necessary ingredients.
How I meal plan...

     The first thing I did was create a "menu" of favorite meals that we can pick from. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes, salads, desserts and snacks. This saves time when I fill in the planner. If I'm drawing a blank, I just look at the menu.

     I keep everything in this mini 3-ring binder. I keep my other lists in here as well, like the wardrobe checklists for the chickadees and myself, that way I don't buy anything extra and only what is on the list.

     Then I printed out sheets with a weekly planner on the left side and a shopping list on the right. This can be done in a regular notebook though, and that is how my friend, Kristen, does hers, I'm just too much of a perfectionist.

I believe the next 2 steps is why meal planning has finally worked for our family.

      I write down any plans of going out or having guests. So that I can plan on eating out or making enough and something special for guests.

       Then I jot down ingredients we have that didn't get used up and try to plan to make meals from those ingredients. I'll say, "we have left over cheese, what meal would you like for this week that uses cheese" and we look at the menu to see what we can make and I write it down in the meal planner.

     The next step is to fill in the meals for the week. Then I write down all the ingredients I need to purchase, to make those meals, in the shopping list. I try to do the meal planning the night before grocery shopping or the day of, which is usually Friday or Saturday.

     We sit down as a family and plan the meals 1-2 times a month, other times I do it by myself. This involves the chickadees and they complain a whole lot less about the meals that I prepare.

     On Saturday night I write everything on our dry erase magnetic meal planner on the fridge for the family to see.

The chickadees ask "what's for dinner?" and "what can I snack on?" a whole lot less now.

Do you meal plan? What do you do differently?

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2017

    This is awesome! I love the board on the fridge! Thank you for sharing! 💜


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