I remember babysitting for a family once a few years ago, and the mom had a nice little meal planning calendar set up on her refrigerator. I thought that was such a great idea and was looking forward to one day being a mom and getting all organized and planning my family's meals like that.
Fast forward 10 years later and here is what my meal planning looks like: frantically rushing around the kitchen 10 minutes before I leave the house for the grocery store, writing down a list, flipping through my cooking magazines for ideas and hoping something will just instantly pull together when I get to the grocery store.
I get there, walk in, see all the vegetables and then go blank. My mind kind of goes into survival mode at that point, as I try to come up with ideas as I am going down the aisles of the grocery store. I pull out my iPhone to look up a recipe as I am handing my toddler a sample of bread to keep her happy for, oh 10 seconds maybe. Then when I get to the check- out line, I am hoping my grand total stays in the budget we have and wondering why I picked out some 10$ jar of soup as she scans it across the register.
I get home, unload the groceries and then think, "now, what the heck are we going to do for dinner?"
If your scenario is anything like mine, then you might be as excited as I am to try out this new menu planning guide I found in one of my cooking magazines, Healthy Living. Click here for the download (weekday menu planner). They incorporate the new food pyramid in this one, where they use a dinner plate to show the portions for each food group:
Here are a few other ones I found online:
1) The Project Girl has one where you can add your grocery list to it: www.theprojectgirl.com
2) Home Life Weekly has one in a chart form. Click here to download.
So do you have any secrets to meal planning?