Do you have a plan? Someone said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Ouch. Feeding a family can be a daunting task. But with a little planning and thought, you can have a great menu of meals for the week.

I decided a few years ago that our magic number was FIVE. I would plan for five meals a week. The other two meals would either be dinners out, leftover meals, or fend for yourself nights (canned soups, sandwiches, popcorn, smoothies, etc.).  What is your magic number? This number may change from year to year or season to season. But take stock and choose a number. That is my starting point.

Now, choose a day of the week to plan and shop. My days are Sunday/Monday, but your day-off or certain schedule may be different. What is your planning/shopping day of the week?

Next I choose recipes according to the main dish – usually meat. I shop at Costco, so I have a freezer full of different proteins. You may choose recipes according to sales at grocery stores, coupons you have, or what is in your pantry. We have: 2 chicken recipes, 1 pork, 1 beef, and 1 fish/seafood. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it is usually how it ends up. I also note which days we may have guests in our home. Brian’s mom eats with us occasionally and we entertain guests about once a week. I save the “good” meals for the guests! How will you organize your menu?

Since I adore cooking, I am always trying new recipes. I think trying new things is good for everyone involved. My kids, while not crazy about all my experiments, sure are used to weird things on their plates. I am sorry, but the kids who only eat one or two foods are missing out on so much! Challenge those taste buds, I tell you!! You may not be like me, but I hope you’ll introduce something new every once in awhile. What new recipe will you try this week – or month?

Finally, I look at each recipe and make a list of ingredients I need to purchase. I make sure I have all the spices and staples, match coupons if I have them, and then finish my list with the basics. This takes some TIME! I even wonder if it’s worth it at times. But then Thursday comes around and I am glad I have all the ingredients for that meal I planned on days ago. Have you made your grocery list this week?

This is just one way to do it. It seems to work for me and when I don’t do it, I get frustrated at eating unhealthy food, eating out, etc. I just feel out of control. How do you plan your meals? Do you have a plan? Share your comments and suggestions with us!


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