Meal planning can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Meals can be planned out for a week or even a month.
Meal planning for me can take up to 1-2 hours. I plan for a week worth of meals. I come up with seven dinner items by looking at a list that I created that shows my dinner ideas. The ideas are broken down into different categories: burgers/hot dogs, meat, mexican, pasta, pizza, soup (fall/winter), and veggies (for my sides). I pick a meal from each category and usually I choose more than one meat idea for the week. When I have added a idea to my meals for the week, I place it on the bottom of the list in each category. That way I know the dinner ideas on the top of the list haven’t been made in recently.
Most of my lunches are leftovers, sandwiches, quick soups (fall/winter), and salads (spring/summer). Sometimes I get creative to change up my sandwiches, so it doesn’t always taste the same. I even have breakfast food at lunch time several times a month.
For breakfast, I usually decide that day or the day before what I’m making. It depends on how much time I have to make breakfast. I keep the major items on hand, so I have them when I need them.
After all that is done, I have to create a grocery list of items I need for the recipes. Once the list is made, I look on Cartwheel by Target for any coupons that I could use. I have been using Cartwheel for several months and I have saved almost $50. Then I gather any other coupons I have.
Meal planning also entails coming up with new recipe items to add to my list. It’s good to try new things, plus it’s easy to get tired of the same thing over and over again. The main place I look for new ideas is Pinterest. I usually add several new recipes each week. Pinterest is sort of like my new best friend, because I use it almost every time I cook. Pinterest is my archive of my various recipes I cook. It’s so much nicer to have it digitally than on paper. I rarely open up my cookbooks.
This week’s meals is the following:
-hot dogs w/ fries
-chicken cordon bleu w/ sweet potatoes
-sesame chicken w/ sesame green beans
-santa fe chicken
Hope this helps you in your meal planning. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!