Using a dinner formula to plan your meals is so liberating, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!
How I use to meal plan
I’ve been meal planning for a very long time. Every Friday I would sit down with my note-book and pencil and jot down a list of five meal possibilities for the up coming week. That was a chore in itself. To sit there and think of five random dinner ideas. I’d flip through a few cookbooks, jump online and look for inspiration on Pinterest and I’d ask the family for ideas. Each one was a fail in its own right. But I’d try to come up with something reasonable.
But, meal planning was exhausting and a total fail for me. I couldn’t stick with the meals I had planned for and usually gave up mid-week.
Using a Formula
When I created menus for the daycare, I would use a daily theme to make healthy lunches. The two-week menu would be posted for everyone to see. The kids would know what to expect each day because they were given the same meals every two weeks. It worked on a rotation system. This way of planning made shopping easier, kept the meals simple and the cook happy.
Lightbulb moment, why not try this formula at home? Taking the formula I used at the daycare, I created my own dinner formula and here’s how it looked:
- Mondays – Mexican night
- Tuesday – Pasta night
- Wednesday – Soup and sandwich because we have gymnastic and need something quick
- Thursday – Kid’s choice ( I let my daughter make what they want or decide what we will eat).
- Friday – Fish night
- Weekends – Slow cooker, grilling or we eat out (depends on the day)
After I had decided what my theme days would be, I filled out a month of meals. This way there was no guess-work and the shopping list was easy to master. I do post the menu on the fridge so the family can see what’s being served, but they know Monday is Mexican and Wednesday is soup and sandwiches. That can change of course, as the saying goes – the best laid plans.
To accompany the entree, I have a selection of sides that I will serve with the meals. Vegetables and fruit are the usual. This way, regardless if they are eating tacos or fish, they will still be getting a side salad or something similar to keep the meals balanced and healthy. I do try to make sure the sides are something the kids really like, just in case dinner isn’t their thing, yet. They will eat the side and hopefully the entree in time.
Using this dinner formula has changed my life. I am not exaggerating. The days of stressing about meals and feeding the family prepackaged food (because I wasn’t prepared) is gone (most of the time). I feel more organized and happy about cooking for my family when things are planned ahead.
Plan what works
You can take this plan and customize it for your own family by choosing your own theme days. Some of my readers love Spaghetti Sunday, Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday. Your formula should suit you and your cooking style.
What theme days work in your family?