What’s For Dinner?!?

Family Eating An Al Fresco MealI don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to simplify my life and make my days a little easier.  Any little thing I can do ahead of time that can make my life a bit simpler I’m all for it.  I don’t know how many days a week I play “what’s for dinner” a mere 30 minutes prior to when dinner should actually be on the table.  Do you find yourself scrambling through the pantry and fridge to find something that the entire family will eat without turning up their noses at the last minute?  If you’re in the same boat as me, you’ll probably be just as excited as I am to start meal planning.  Meal planning is not a new concept to me but it’s something that I just haven’t been very good at doing on a consistent basis.  Meal planning can be accomplished for a few days, a week, or even a month at a time…it’s entirely up to you.  For me, I’m starting out with a weekly meal plan since I currently grocery shop once a week.  I may alter this once I get a better grasp of it and I have time to sit down and actually devote more time to planning out my meals.  I’m currently only planning for our dinners, but I’m hoping to expand into breakfast and lunch once my husband is back on a more regular schedule.

So how does meal planning work?  You first need to decide how long you want to plan at a time and for what meals you want to plan for.  Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll need a calendar to keep track of your meals.  I have found I really like a calendar I can just print out and then fill in.  I found a really cute weekly planner HERE.  If you’re looking for a monthly one, HERE is one I’ll use once I get a little more adventurous.  You can do a quick google search that will bring up all different kinds of meal planners some even include a shopping list attached.

Now that you’ve figured out the length of time you’ll be planning for, it’s time to start planning the actual meals.  Be sure to add your family’s favorites in and this is a great time to add in those recipes you’ve been saving that you wanted to try and just haven’t had the time.  One of my favorite places to find new recipes is Pinterest.  A quick search will return a ton of recipes that are just calling my name to try.  And don’t forget to include your family member’s in the meal planning process.  It’s fun to have each family member pick out a meal for the week, and you don’t get stuck trying to predict what the family wants each day.

To get started, I thought I’d include my meal plan for this week’s dinners.  I’ve included the link to some of the recipes if you’d like to add them to your own meal plan.

Monday – Crispy Cheddar Chicken, peas, salad

Tuesday – Italian Beef Sandwiches, fries

Wednesday – Enchiladas, Mexican rice

Thursday – Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake, salad, garlic bread

Friday – Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken, rice, egg rolls

Saturday – Dinner Out

Sunday – BLTs, chips

Meal planning is an easy way to help simplify your life and take the worry out of “What’s for Dinner”.  Do you meal plan?  Do you have a favorite meal?  Do you have a tip that makes meal planning easier?  We’d love to hear from you!

~Tiffany Bodge is a military spouse and a novice when it comes to meal planning in advance.  She is the Director of Public Relations and Communications for Military Spouses of Strength

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