I have used various meal plans throughout the years. One thing remains: I work so much better with a plan. It is a necessity at least during the school year. During this time, since we are eating 3 meals a day at home, I often plan lunches too. I used to plan breakfasts too, but now that the kids are getting older, they can pretty much make their own. And breakfast is always simple: cereal, yogurt, fruit, toast, etc.
Basically, what I do is this: I have a master list of meals that I like to make or that the family likes to eat! I also have a folder of recipes that I tear out from magazines, etc. I refer to the list or the folder when I need some inspiration. When I plan my meals, I usually plan 1-2 weeks at a time. I can not begin to tell you how much easier it is when I have the meals planned out. It’s a no brainer!
When I am ready to plan, I look at our calendar first and see what activities we have each day. On busy nights, I plan something easier or leftovers. On days where we have more time, I plan a more complicated meal.
We don’t eat red meat, so our choices are more limited in meals. But in general we have a Mexican night, pasta on Sunday and maybe one other during the week, 1-2 days of chicken, sometimes paninnis or sandwich night, in the winter we have lots of vegetable chili and soups. Summer we have many more salads.
Plan according to what is available. If you get in a rut, pull out the recipes. Always have things on hand for when the plan goes awry. Pasta is our go-to meal when things get out of whack. I always have it on hand, everyone likes it, and I can mix it with veggies, chicken or even chick peas for protein. And it takes hardly anytime or effort to boil water!
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