Do you create a weekly meal plan? Before motherhood the concept of creating a meal plan (or a weekly rhythm of any kind aside from showing up for work each day) was not my thing. It was too predictable. Too orderly. To much like something my mother might have done. So I avoided meal planning (and other schedules of all kinds) completely.
But now as a mama I don't want to leave dinner to chance. Our days are full and having a meal plan allows me to feel relaxed and organized and in control of our rhythm. Our weekly meal plan has become the cornerstone of having a reasonable and joyful week around here.
This is how we go about it: Once a week I sit down with a blank meal plan, a blank shopping list, and a stack of my favorite cookbooks. (During CSA season I also grab a list of CSA veggies in my fridge.) As I jot down meals onto my meal plan I also make a grocery list. (Mine is a little geeky. I divide my shopping list into four quadrants by drawing a big + in the center of the page. Each quadrant is marked "produce", "bulk", "coolers", or "the rest". Yes, geeky. But I never have to backtrack in the store so it works for me.)
I keep all of these supplies in a three ring binder that I'll tell you about another day. In my binder I also keep a list of favorite dinners and a default meal plan incase I choke and don't know what to make.
I created the meal plan template that is shown above and thought I would share it with you. It is a simple grid with days of the week, meals, and food prep. (Because we eat allot of traditional foods, like soaked/sprouted grains, this section is critical for us. It is also the place to remind yourself to take something out of the freezer the night before or to remind yourself to bake the weeks' bread or make yogurt.).
I saved it as an Excel file (if you want to personalize it with your favorite font) and as a PDF. Take your pick. Just click on one of the links below and it's yours. (The PDf isn't as pretty as the XLS, just for the record.)
Happy meal planning!