Meal Planning for Wimps – You Can SO Do This!

Creating a meal plan is not rocket science. But, it seems to be one of the biggest challenges faced by home managers.

  • What’s for dinner?
  • What do you want to eat?
  • Do we have (fill in the blank) to make (fill in the blank)?
  • Wanna go to the store for me, honey?

If these are questions you regularly hear at your house, then it may be time to take the big leap. Make a meal plan this week.

Yes, I know, I’m a nag. But, really, you can SO do this!

But, first, true confessions

Many of my meal plans don’t go according to plan. And despite my best intentions, a Costco pizza has saved the day on more than one occasion. I try to be organized and pull things from the freezer, but it doesn’t always go the way I want it to.

As one who wants to encourage you to eat good meals at home with the fam, I have probably made this meal planning thing more complicated than it needs to be. But, truly, meal planning can be simple.

Meal Planning for Wimps

I don’t really think you’re a wimp or anything. But, many of you might think that about yourself. You may think The Girl Nextdoor has it all together. But, you’d be wrong.

Let’s do this the simple way. Don’t worry about what’s in the cupboard. Don’t worry about what’s the best sale. We’re focusing on a simple plan here.

Think of the five easiest meals you could make this week and write those down. Try to choose meals that you know most of your family will eat. For me, that would be

  • tacos
  • pasta
  • hot dogs
  • hamburgers
  • grilled chicken.

Three of those can be cooked on the grill, but could be cooked inside if the weather didn’t cooperate. All of them can be prepped ahead of time in some capacity, so these are truly easy.

Next, write down side dishes to go with those meals.

  • tacos, fruit salad
  • pasta with meatballs and red sauce, steamed green beans, garlic bread
  • hot dogs, fruit, veggies and dip
  • hamburgers, green salad, chips
  • grilled chicken, rice pilaf, green salad

Make sure you have all the ingredients you need to make those five meals. Create a grocery list based on what you need for those meals and make sure you buy them at the beginning of the week. Consider building a pantry that really works for you.

In the case of fresh meats, check the dates and/or freeze the items if you won’t use them within three days of the sell-by date. If you want to flex a little muscle, precook the taco meat and form the hamburger patties prior to freezing.

Put the list of meals on the fridge. You don’t have to assign each meal to a day. But as 4 pm rolls around each day, consult your list and make a decision. Don’t worry about the others in your family balking. Ya gotta eat. And somebody has to make a decision.

It might as well be you.

What’s standing between you and timely meals with your family?

For more meal planning inspiration, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie and for good eating visit Tasty Tuesday.

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Comments

  1. Yep. This a good list. I’m sharing it with hubby because he seems to think meal planning requires a summit/conference/detail discussion.

  2. Great tips! I am going to share this with my Facebook friends… I could not have said it better.

    I am celebrating week 35 of meal planning!

    http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2010/06/weekly-meal-plan-35.html

  3. Great tips. Usually planning is essential but this weekend I dropped the ball. I have NO IDEA what is happening this week. I made it out of bed. After that, who knows. :-) Thanks!!

  4. Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook says:

    It’s funny you posted this, because although I meal plan weekly, I shared my meal plan on my blog this morning for the first time in a couple of months :o)

    http://likeabubblingbrook.blogspot.com/2010/06/meal-planning-ideas.html

    I also have a link in that post to my homekeeping binder, with printable menu planning pages.

    Hope that helps! Great post!
    xoxo

  5. great tips! I love your meal planning. Have a great week!

  6. When I got married, I also got an instant family. After about six months, I decided I needed to do something about dinnertime (inspiration never struck me when I was staring at the fridge with hungry children asking me ‘What’s for dinner?’). Been doing some form of meal planning ever since, and I’d never go back!!

  7. The most perfect advice and simply stated! I love meal planning but it totally freaks out my friends. What’s up with that?!?!

  8. These are great tips. The frozen pizza is definitely a lifesaver!

  9. This is exactly how I got started meal planning. And it makes such a difference.

    We’ve had a lot of trouble recently with my 4-year-old becoming super picky about dinner. One night at dinner I asked her to tell me five of her favorite meals Mommy makes. She gave me a great list. Some surprises too. And so we agreed that every week Mommy would make sure at least one of them was on my list (sometimes two) and she would do her best to try the other nights and maybe find a new favorite.

  10. Proud Mama of BOYS! says:

    I really have to thank you for your knowledge/experience with meal planning and OAMC. I started recently trying to have a plan for the month and including some freezer cooking. It hasn’t gone exactly how I planned for a specific week. But, instead of drawing a blank at the last hour when it comes to dinner, I can look at the list for the whole month and see what I can pull off quickly that day. Having a plan makes dinner less intimidating/laborious even if I’m only on the ‘meal planning for wimps’ level, lol =) Did I mention that I’m 38 weeks pregnant with two toddlers in tow. If we can do it, I truly believe it CAN be done! Thanks again!

  11. Sounds great! I like to meal plan for the week but not pick what’s for every night that way if I forget to take the chicken out of the freezer I have another meal ready to go! Meal planning really takes a lot of extra stress out of my life!

    Ps can wait for oamc this month. I’m jumping on board this month! Woohoo

  12. Sounds like a great week! Also sounds to me like you really do have it all together – none of us can have it together 100% of the time but I think you really have a good handle on things overall.
    Stopping by from the link at Menu Plan Monday :-)

  13. Come join me for What’s On the Menu Wednesday this week. I’d love to see you there

  14. I really need to get with the program! And summer always, ALWAYS finds me scrambling to make dinner because my husband and kids don’t eat things like potato salad, pasta salad, etc. Frustrating!

    That said, we are also thinking about adding to our family (Lord-willing) and I get terrible morning sickness for most of my pregnancy. Food and cooking it is low on my fun list just then! :) But if I can prep freezer meals and have a meal plan, my famly can eat well even if I’m not in the mood to cook.

  15. Thanks for getting me kicked into gear on this!

  16. Thanks for sharing this, Jessica. That’s me, the meal planning wimp. :-) I was just thinking about this today. Since we’re on vacation this week, I thought this would be a good week to give it a go–no work days to deal with when I have zero interest in cooking upon returning home. I need to build in automatic slow cooker days on those work days, maybe, or freezer meals. Anyway, I’ll try what you said. Thanks for sharing all of your good tips–your blog is a blessing to me.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      You’re sweet. You’re not a wimp. And like we said last week, your way appears to be working. So, don’t knock it. Just fine tune it to suit YOU. ;)

  17. Thank You! I love your ideas! So easy, and less stressful then some of the other meal plans! It’s been hard for me to assign each night to a certain meal. I like being flexible, and having a list with the meals and choosing which one to make for that night.
    Great Blog! :D

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  1. [...] your meals this week. Begin creating a regular meal plan so that you know each night what your dinner choices are. Having a plan should help you get in and [...]

  2. [...] Try out basic meal planning if you’re a [...]

  3. [...] Planning out meals is the first line of defense against increased spending. I’ve been all over the map with meal planning, planning for a month, planning for a week, but reality is that having a plan helps me know what we have and reminds of what to do earlier in the day to have that plan actually come to fruition. [...]

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