Homemaking | The Proverbs 31 Woman At Home | In the Kitchen | Menu Plans

15 Minute Meal Planning

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15 Minute Meal Planning Tips and Tricks + Free Printable Meal Planning Cheat Sheet @ AVirtuousWoman.org

15 Minute Meal Planning

With a house full of kids, some of which have a few picky eating issues, a husband who works all day, plus all those after school activities keeping us out late, figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner can turn into a trip to the fast food drive thru. The only thing that makes dealing with the challenge of dinner time around here is my meal plan. I plan my entire week of meals in under 15 minutes, and while it might sound like an impossible feat, I’m living proof it can be done!

Master List of Meal Ideas

I have a huge recipe bank and it’s my secret weapon to putting together a quick meal plan. It has all of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas all in one place for me to pick from, with the ingredients list right there as well.

It makes planning out my meals for the week a breeze and only takes a few minutes to come up with ideas! I take these ideas and put them in my menu planner.

Find a pretty meal planner to use

You don’t want to start your meal planning without a meal planner. It will have spaces for all of the dates you need and some even come with their own shopping list section. There are tons of printables out there to fit your family’s unique needs, but using a printable meal planner will save you time.

The Purpose 31 Homemaking Planner has plenty of space to plan your weekly menu and makes meal planning so much easier!

Master List of Meal Ideas

I have a huge recipe bank, which you’ll read more about later in this book, and it’s my secret weapon to putting together a quick meal plan. It has all of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas all in one place for me to pick from, with the ingredients list right there as well.

It makes planning out my meals for the week a breeze and only takes a few minutes to come up with ideas! I take these ideas and put them in my menu planner.

The first step in being prepared for meal time is to set aside a time each week when you can sit down and plan your menu for the week. Some women prepare for an entire month! I just plan for the week ahead. I like to cook a variety of foods – comfort foods (family favorites) and I like to try out new recipes on a regular basis.

Recently, I was reading an article about being good to our husbands with the food we prepare. I started thinking about my own cooking style. The last few years I have been cooking more and more ethnic meals which I love. In fact everyone in the family seems to enjoy them. But as I thought about it, I realized that those meals that get the most praise from my husband and children are the good old fashioned “meat and potatoes” kind of meals. That may sound a little funny considering we are a vegetarian family. However, they love for me to make my version of “meatloaf,” oatmeal patties with gravy, and mashed potatoes are always a hit. Casseroles are also a favorite.

These are the kinds of food I grew up eating! I struggle with the desire to serve really healthy food and serving food we really love to eat. After giving it a good bit of thought, I decided I needed to find a healthy balance between the two.

Make a list of your family’s favorite foods. You could even get really organized and make the list according to main dish, side dish, salad, soups, etc. like I did; or make the list according to main ingredient – broccoli, eggplant, pasta, etc.

On menu planning day, sit down with your list, your blank menu chart, and a few cookbooks or other recipe sources. Choose mostly from your tried and true favorites and then select a few new ones to try out.

Use a Rotating System

Another great way to make your meal planning go faster is by creating a rotating system such as Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, and so on. If you are short on time, create a rotating system that works well for your family. This system may not work well for every family, but it is a great way to save your meal plan when you’ve run out of ideas.

Repeat the Meals that Work

Before you start your meal planning, ask your family members to help you create a top twenty recipe list and keep this list handy. These are your go to meals when you run out of ideas. If you look at my meal plan, you’ll find a lot of the same dinners on my menu again and again, because it works! These dinners are staples in our household and are easy to prepare and easy on the budget. This works well if you have a picky eater, as boring and repetitive is better than a daily food struggle.

Despite the myth that meal planning takes hours of careful planning, you can easily create meals your family will look forward to each week without all the hassle. With a few carefully crafted systems in place, you’ll be on your way to meal planning success in no time.

Free Printable Weekly Menu Plan + Shopping List

Weekly Menu Plan @ AVirtuousWoman.org
Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List

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