I used to be so daunted by the idea of meal planning. How am I supposed to know what I want to eat in a few hours let alone five days from now?! We tried our hand at this popular planning method on and off for years, but it just never really stuck.
Until recently in the last year or so!
We had a light bulb moment about how we were going about it the totally wrong way. Know how meal planning finally clicked for us? It’s so simple that I almost feel ridiculous dedicating a whole post to this.
Deciding on the day of the week to go grocery shop was a game-changer!
Let me explain a little. To me/us, it always seemed like you should meal plan and grocery shop at the beginning of the week. Sunday or Monday, most obviously. We also have a trickier schedule than most since Ryan’s work schedule rotates every other week and isn’t home for dinner most weeknights, so we have to plan what he’ll take to work and what I can make solo (cooking for one is difficult!).
Once we took a closer look at our schedule, we came to realize that Wednesdays are our ideal day to start our week of meal plans and to grocery shop. This is the day of the week that is consistent in Ryan’s work schedule every week (meaning it never changes), so he’s able to come with me to the grocery store. Yes, I know that I’m spoiled that my husband is able and willing to do this type of shopping with me! 😉 Wednesday also marks the new rotation of the schedule for the upcoming week – if Ryan works the weekend, what nights he’ll be home, etc. So our “week” of meals goes from Wednesday to Wednesday, instead of a traditional week that starts Sunday or Monday.
This makes meal planning ridiculously easier because I can work backward while planning meals for the week. For example, Wednesdays in our home are pizza night and that rarely changes. So right away, I can mark that down on our list, and if we know that Ryan works Thursday, Monday and Tuesday nights I can mark down that we’re eating solo/leftovers those nights. From there, I just fill in the gaps! It’s less overwhelming to pick out recipes and plan meals when I know I only have to come up with a specific number given whatever days we’ll be able to eat dinner together.
And, that’s how meal planning finally clicked for us! Simply figuring out that a traditional start-of-the-week meal planning schedule didn’t work for us. We’ve been at this for nearly a year now, and it has made such a difference in our daily lives! Especially keeping us on track with cooking more and avoiding the temptation to eat out a lot.
Do you struggle to meal plan or are you a pro?
You’ll also enjoy cookbooks that I always reach for and my favorite recipes from each!