Creating a weekly meal plan can reduce stress and help you stay prepared for a busy week. This looks really easy and totally worth doing!

 

I enjoy creating systems in life.  I swear God did not give me the strong organizational skills that other moms have.  Meal times seem like such a struggle sometimes.   For some reason dinner in particular  stresses me out.  I think it is because I worry about not having a variety.  If it were up to me, I would plan the same things week after week just because it is easy.   I recently came up with a weekly menu system that has been working really well in our house so I thought I would share it in case you are looking for ways to simplify meal planning.

I have been looking for a meal planning system for a while now.  Eating healthy, managing a child with food allergies and managing busy schedules can be tough.  This is the system I use to manage what we are eating for the week and actually I finally was able to plan well enough so I don’t need to do a big grocery shopping run every week.  I personally don’t like to go to the grocery store more than I have to so the less I have to go, the happier I am.

I have loved the Organize Yourself Skinny website for years and I have several favorite recipes from Tammy’s site.  I also read her eBook this year in order to better organize my meal planning life.  A technique that she uses is a rotating meal plan.  I loved the thought of this but I also knew that we needed some variety.  I also decided to give the $5 Meal Plan a try this year.  Basically, you get a month’s worth of meals planned out for you for $5 per month.  I can certainly fit that into our budget as I know that when I prep my meals ahead of time I can save money on food.

I now use a combination of the $5 Meal Plan and help from the Organize Yourself Skinny eBook to help me meal prep.

 

5-meal

My system is a little different than a rotating menu like Tammy uses.  I am actually not that strict although I can certainly see how it does help to have it more automated with a rotating menu.  My system involves printing out all the meals from the $5 Meal Plan and also having a list of our favorite meals handy.  I then go through them before we are set to grocery shop and figure out which meals I want to make for the coming 2 weeks.

For us, breakfast and lunch are pretty easy and honestly, we have a lot of the same types of food for breakfast and lunch.  We do a lot of leftovers for lunch or we make tuna or grilled cheese.  For breakfast, we either have eggs and toast, oatmeal, smoothies or french toast.  Occasionally I will make homemade pancakes, but honestly that isn’t very often.  My sister makes pancakes on the weekends, wraps them in plastic wrap individually and then places them in a freezer bag.  The kids take them out in the morning and heat them in the microwave and they love it!  I have never tried it, but I just know that it works for their family.

So here is what my system looks like:

I have a binder for all of my meal ideas that I keep in my pantry.

I have separations for my $5 Meal plan ideas, my recipes, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. I also have a section for smoothies.  We will make the occasional smoothie and instead of having to track down a recipe on Pinterest, I printed out our favorite smoothie recipes.  I love having everything in one spot.  It just makes my life so much easier.  I keep the binder in the pantry so it is readily available.

meal-binder-topics-copy

I then shuffle through the recipes and write down the meal ideas that sound delicious for the upcoming 2 weeks.  I also look ahead to see if we have any special dinners, possible nights out, school events and I look to see if one of us is working as that changes what I will make and how much will be needed.

I usually plan for leftovers as I don’t mind eating leftovers for lunch the next day at all.  Greg isn’t a huge fan of leftovers unless it is something he really likes.

I then grocery shop and partial prep my meals according the the Organize Yourself Skinny eBook. I don’t do a lot of full prep meals as I just don’t have time.  I will make sure I have plenty of freezer bags before going to the grocery store though as most of the time I am coming home and transferring meat to a freezer bag in order to partial prep it for a meal. I will then label the bag and put the date on it to make sure I use it in a reasonable amount of time.

meal-planning-binder

Meal planning was a big stress for me until I implemented this system.  I love having everything at my fingertips and having multiple dinner ideas in one binder.  You can start your free 2 week trial of the $5 Meal plan here and you can learn more about the Organize Yourself Skinny eBook here.

 

Are you looking to feel more organized? Creating a weekly meal plan binder will help you reduce meal planning stress! This looks super easy!

Do you have system to plan your meals?

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