Mealplanning is one of those things where there is no right or wrong way – as long as you have a system that works for you. There are those who plan daily, weekly and monthly—and then there are those like myself that prefer to do it twice a year and never think about it again. Don’t get me wrong I love to cook and create in the kitchen but in this age of Pinterest and millions of cookbook publishers, all that information just makes my brain hurt.
5 Steps to Meal Planning Twice a Year
(This post may contain affiliate links under no circumstances are you obligated to purchase from these links-I only recommend brands and company’s we personally use and love- but, if you should decide to make a purchase we do “thank you” as the profits do help support this blog)
Keep it simple – we tend to make everything these days too complicated, from the plethora of after school activities we have our kids in – to the fancy Pinterest like meals we try to mirror. I recently heard someone say (and if I could remember who…I’d give them credit); “Things were simpler back in the day – we knew who the “Joneses” were but it wasn’t thrown in our face 24/7″. We have all become the “Joneses” in a sense – we share what we eat, what we wear, where we have gone or where we are going. We are a share it all society. Well, I’m here to tell you – be you, be awesome – and the kitchen is one of those places it doesn’t need to be complicated, so don’t make it be. Keep it simple and ignore the noise that circles around you.
Color Matters – did you know that you are more likely to eat less of something if the contrast between your food and the plate it is served on is greater. For example; you will eat less pasta with red sauce if it is served on a white plate than if it were served on a red plate. Serve your food on a white plate and make it look like a rainbow. Your brain and waistline will thank you.
Choose a variety of foods – for a well-balanced diet. Not all foods are equally nutritious – ask yourself how many humans have interfered with the processing of “____” food before you are eating it? If it is heavily processed you should move on. There is a time and place for unhealthy foods in moderation (birthdays, holidays and special occasions) and there will always be exceptions to every rule, but overall your basic meal plan should contain mostly label free foods.
Lists just make sense to me – I am a list maker at heart and seriously make lists for everything. You will notice in the meal plan below there is no fancy calendar with foods all filled in – there is a reason for that – it doesn’t work for me and I venture to say it doesn’t work for you either. We all have busy lives and printing someone else’s food calendar just doesn’t even make sense to me. That fancy meal they have chosen to eat on Wednesday which very well might be my busiest day of the week simply will not work. I needed a different system and this is what I came up with….
Plan it once and repeat – there are 365 days in the year, right? This my friends, is the way that meal planning makes the most sense to me. Plan 300 days’ worth of meals leaving 65* “floater” days so to speak for left over days, birthdays, holidays and eating out (don’t feel overwhelmed – trust me!) divide 300 by 4 (see your number is getting smaller–you are now looking at 75 Spring/Summer meals and 75 Fall/Winter meals). Since 75 does not go into 7 days a week equally, I personally like to do a 70 Day/10 week plan. You will now proceed to “plan” 70 days’ worth of meals (or 10 Weeks) Or just let me do it for you... (*so yes, you now have 85 “floater” days but between vacations, holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, and special circumstances a majority of your meals will still be accounted for-that really only leaves approximately 1 meal a week unaccounted for)
Here is a free Spring/Summer 14 day meal plan to get you started–still hungry for more?
Let’s take the guess work out of “what are we eating” and put the entire meal planning menu system to work for you. (Coming Soon) You can use my prepared 10 weeks of meal plans and simply fill in your own week at a glance sheet, make allergy adjustments to fit your families’ needs, and fill in the grocery shopping list with the items your missing in the pantry. There is no more staring at grocery isles wasting time, no more pre-scheduled calendars that need to be completely altered, the entire meal planning system is based on you and your families’ specific, unique life situation.
Breakfast; Week 1
· Yogurt and mixed fruit
· French Toast
· Scrambles Eggs and Toast
· Waffles with Mixed Berry Sauce
Lunch; Week 1
· Chicken nuggets, fruit and nuts
· PB, honey, and banana sandwiches, apple and pretzels
· Salmon salad on a cucumber, apples or pear sauce and popcorn
· Guacamole, carrots, cucumbers, mixed fruit and a muffin
· Taco lettuce roll-ups, mango salsa and corn chips
Dinner; Week 1
· Crockpot chicken, veggie and salad
· Grilled Salmon, broccoli salad, sweet potatoes
· Turkeyor Beef Tacos, rice and beans
· Grilled pork tenderloin, zucchini, yellow, cherry tomato kabobs, quinoa
· Stuffed zucchini pizzas, mixed green salad
· Chicken/beef kabobs (peppers, tomato, zucchini/yellow squash), served over rice
Snacks; Week 1
· Baby carrots and dip
· Peanut butter brownie puppy chow
· Mixed nuts and fruit
· Granola and (milk or Greek yogurt)
Breakfast; Week 2
· Eggs muffins and sausage
· Granola/cereal (with milk or Greek yogurt), and mixed fruit
· Mixed berry crepes and powder sugar
· French toast sticks and bacon
· Overnight oatmeal
Lunch; Week 2
· Hummus, veggie sticks (peppers, carrots, celery, and radishes),melon and muffin
· Cucumber/tomato kabobs, apple or pear w/sun-butter dip, mixed nuts and craisins
· Hard-boiled egg, tomato/olive kabob, nut-thins and orange
· Almonds/Cashews, blueberries/strawberries, oven roasted turkey on a cucumber “bun”
· PBJ rice cakes, banana, carrot/celery sticks
· Zucchini bread, oven chicken and mixed berries
Dinner; Week 2
· Turkeymeatloaf, sweet potato casserole and oven baked broccoli
· Grilled chicken tender salad w/orange poppy seed dressing (kids; chicken, cut veggies and dressing for “dip”
· Quinoa stuffed peppers
· Rosemary/lemon oven baked shrimp, summer squash fries, rice, and mixed green salad
· Pesto chicken pasta salad, cherry tomatoes, and lemon/garlic asparagus
Snacks; Week 2
· Grape kabobs and raw cheddar slice
· Ice cube snack buffet (carrots, strawberry, raisins, blueberries, almonds, and sunflower seeds)
· No bake energy snack balls
· Hard boiled egg and kale chips
· Banana, marshmallows, and chocolate chips (great on the grill)