Thursday, January 3, 2013

Meal Planning Made Easy - Pick a Card

Meal planning is truly the bane of my housewife existence. Ugh! I can cook but it's not my favorite thing so I try to put off the 'what's for dinner' question as long as I possibly can. However, five o'clock keeps rolling around.
The few times I've attempted meal planning things have gone really well and I loved it... while I kept up with it. I tried and liked the 5 dinners in 1 hour program, the once-a-month cooking thing, just making meal plans in Publisher, crock-potting everything but I haven't found a system that I could continue with for more than a few months at a time. I've come up with something new though. I'm hoping this will do the trick.

A friend shared an idea that had been given to her about making each night of the week a particular type of meal so that you don't really need to think about what you're going to make. Ex. Always serve chicken on Thursdays or have Meatless Mondays. Using that idea and keeping our weekly schedule in mind, I came up with Pasta on Mondays, Chicken on Tuesdays, Beef on Wednesdays, an easy meal on Thursdays, Pork or Fish on Fridays, and easy meals or left-overs on the weekends.
Pasta on Mondays (brown), Chicken on Tuesdays (yellow), Beef on Wednesdays (green), Easy Meals on Thursdays (white), Pork or Fish on Fridays (blue), and Easy Meals or Left-Overs on the weekend (white)
The next step was to go through my recipe box and list my go-to favorite (family tested and approved) recipes. I made a template in Word for 2" boxes. Then I typed in the name of all the meals that I make on a regular basis. Since I'm a visual person, I assigned a color to each meal category. I printed the category name and the meal cards on the same color of cardstock. I printed lots of extra left-over cards (and a few eat out cards.)

After trimming them to 2" square, they fit perfectly in a pocket chart. I originally had gotten it from the Target dollar spot. I had picked up two pocket charts for our homeschool room but we ended up not really needing both.

I tucked in my days of the week cards and then put the corresponding meal category card in the next slot down. Below that, I put one meal card in for each day of the month.
All of my extra meal cards go in the bottom slot. Now when the new month rolls around, I can quickly rotate my meal cards which will hopefully give us more variety in our dinners.

My new menu planner hangs out near our laundry room Command Central (right off the kitchen.) It's on the back of the door between the laundry and the kitchen so it's totally accessible but can be hidden away just by opening the door. Our calendar is there too so while I'm planning out meals, I can see at a glance if we have a busy night that might need an easier dinner or if we're having company or if we're going to be company somewhere.

Here's hoping this is the solution for my meal planning frustration!

Linking up to these great blog parties:
Sunday: Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming; 
Tuesday: One Project at a Time at A Bowl Full of Lemons; Tutes and Tips at Home Stories A to Z; Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife;
Wednesday: Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man, Crafty Woman; It's Overflowing at Overflowing with Creativity; Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts;
Home Decor and Organizing at Organize and Decorate Everything;
Thursday: Delightfully Inspiring Thursday at Delightful Order; Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage;
Friday: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest; Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring;


  1. Holy cow--this is genius! I NEED to do this.
    Can you post your recipes next?

  2. I really like this idea. Maybe once I go through my new crock pot book, I'll have a better list of favorites and can do something like this. :-)

  3. Like the look of this - must let us know how you get on

    1. Thanks everyone! So far it's working wonderfully. It's helped with grocery shopping too--keeping focus on the food we'll need and use within a week of purchasing it.

  4. What a great idea! I need to work on my meal planning. Makes life so much easier!
    I'd love for you to link this up at my new link party!


    1. Thanks for your kind words. I'll definitely stop by your party. :)

  5. What a neat idea! I even have a few of those very same pocket charts from Target! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope you find a meal planning solution that fits your needs! Happy Organizing!


Your kind comments make me smile!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...