Does cooking dinner

make you feel like this?

Cooking dinner used to make me want to pull my hair out.  Fumbling around in the kitchen at 5:00 trying to figure out what to make for dinner at 6:00.  Finding that I really don’t have all the ingredients, but throwing something together anyway and making a less than desirable meal.  I finally decided that meal planning wasn’t just another big evil task to take up all my time, but a dear friend that I needed to sit and visit with more often.

Not only has meal planning helped me know exactly what I’m making for each meal, it has also lessened the amount of food that I waste.

Tools of the trade:

1.  Your daily planner – or calendar on the fridge, whichever works best for you
2.  Your grocery list – I find that the magnetic kind is best.  Always on the fridge where I can find it and add staple items to it as we run out.
3.  About 30 minutes – Don’t worry about spending it now, it will save you loads of time in the future, not to mention a few strands of hair.

That’s it!  That’s all you need.  Now let’s begin.

I choose to use about 30 minutes on Sunday evening to sit and plan my weekly meals.  This is because I usually do my grocery shopping on Mondays.  You will want to choose the day that works best for you.

You should begin with writing down all the meals your family likes and keeping this list paper-clipped inside your planner.  This makes meal planning much easier.  As you experiment with more recipes you may add them to this list.  Refer to it when you get planners’ block.

Now, ask yourself the dreaded question (only it’s not so dreaded right now because, remember, it’s the night before), “What are we going to have for dinner?”  Remember to take into account everyone’s schedules.  Are you planning around ball practice or the farm feeding schedule?  You may want to plan a crock pot meal or a healthy sandwich for on the way.  Don’t forget church socials!

Once you have decided what to have, write it on your planner along with any sides or extras.  Now, run through your ingredients list and make sure you have everything you need.  Make a grocery list for the items you will need to buy.  Repeat for each day of the week, planning for breakfast and lunches as well.

When you go to the grocery store, do your best to stick to your list and refrain from buying anything on an impulse. This will keep your cost down and help with eating healthy on a budget.  I’ve found I save a lot of money by meal planning and shopping this way.

I hope this has helped and saved you a few more hairs.  If you have any suggestions for planning dinners and would like to contribute them to this page, please feel free to do so!  There are many women out there, including myself, that can benefit from what you know.

Happy Planning!

Love In Christ and Farmgirl Hugs,