Simplify Sundays {Meal Planning}

Simplifying is not always my strong suit. I am not by nature someone who is a “minimalist.” If we’re being honest, I have found myself to be someone who says,” If I like it; I should buy it in every color.” I am learning that simplifying certain things in your life truly is rewarding and brings you so much peace of mind. When you get into your new intentional habits you will quickly find joy in the simple things. Join me for a new series called, Simplify Sundays. Follow along on Instagram and tag your pictures, #simplifysundays so I can see how you are simplifying YOUR week.

Do you ever find yourself looking at the clock at ten minutes to five and realizing the chicken you are about to pull out of the freezer will never be defrosted in time? haha. We’ve all done this. I’ve done this many times to count. But then I started meal planning and viola that chicken I wanted to make for dinner was taken out of the freezer the night before and put in the refrigerator. Meal planning….Do you love it or hate it? I find that most people who love planning and cooking like meal planning. I also have found that most busy wives and mothers want to plan ahead but because of daily life and being too busy they just simply forget to do so. I thought for this first Simplify Sundays, I’d share with you a few quick and simple tips to super basic meal planning that will set up your week nights for success. The reason I am starting this series off with Meal Planning is because it is one of the easiest things to implement into your daily life as a wife and mother that will make you feel like you’ve got it all together. ;) hehe

Meal planning will not only help make dinner time simpler, but it will also hopefully cut down on wasted food. There are many ways to meal plan for dinners. I like to do it a week at a time because that is what works for us. If you want to plan out more, go for it! But remember, the point of planning ahead it to simplify your days and not cause stress. So I recommend starting with a week and going from there. Here are a few general and basic tips for starting.

  1. Make a list of 10-15 of your family’s favorite meals. {if you don’t have that many, go to Pinterest or search your favorite cookbooks. I love Pioneer Women meals because they are fairly simple and always delicious.*
  2. Below each meal, list out every ingredient you need for that meal.
  3. Pick 5 of your favorites from that list. Make sure a few are quick and simple dishes that are easy to make for busy evenings.
  4. Write the 5 meals out and post on your family’s calendar or write them on a piece of paper and put it up on your refrigerator for your reference.
  5. Shop your pantry for items needed for the 5 meals. I said 5 to allow one night to be leftovers and one night to go out or order a pizza. You are welcome to adjust accordingly for whatever works best for your family.
  6. Once you have figured out what you have and what you need for your meals, start a grocery list.
  7. Grocery shop.
  8. Repeat again next week. Switch up your list to the next 5 favorite meals.

*Don’t forget that you can switch up recipes and tailor them to meet your family’s dietary needs and likes.

To keep the dinner time from getting boring, I like to add in different cuisines and themes each night. Eating soup 3 nights in a week is not ideal unless you really love soup, haha. Switch things up. If you want to theme your nights to make things even easier, try something like. Meatball Mondays–you can make spaghetti and meatballs one week and the next week you can make meatball subs. Tuesday can be Taco Tuesdays and each week you can try different taco recipes. I have a lot of taco recipes. One is on the blog, search for Chipotle Lime Chicken Tacos. You can thank me later ;)

Personally I am not big on leftovers, but it definitely makes things easier when you are crunched for time or not in the mood to cook. So I do recommend planning for at least one night of leftovers. If you make a big pot of soup or chili one night, that will carry over for a leftover dinner perfectly. If you grill up a whole chicken you can use leftovers for another dish, or just simply throw in over a salad full of veggies. 

Think ahead on the day you are writing out your list of meals BEFORE you go grocery shopping. If you are on a budget, plan your meals on what meats/items are on sale. This is a money and a sanity saver. Get creative. But most of all, have FUN! This is meant to help make things easier and simplify the crazy of dinner time. Don’t just pull out a frozen pizza at 5 o’clock and call that dinner. I get it that some people don’t like to cook but there are simple things you can make with fresh, healthy ingredients that your family will love.

Last tip for this week’s Simplify Sundays is to wash the dishes after dinner. Yes, there’s bathes to give and children to put to bed. But if you take 15 minutes to wash the dishes and clean the sink you will wake up happier and feel ready to be more productive. It’s  really a win-win. Also, try to clean and put items away as you cook. If you have older kids, have them help with putting items away and cleaning up as you go. Make it fun! Personally I can not go to bed with dishes in the sink or a messy kitchen. I wake up dreading the mess and it starts my day off on a sour note. If you just completely hate doing the dishes, then use paper plates. There are no rules to meal planning. Do whatever works for your family. After all, this series is all in hopes of simplifying things for you. Not creating more chaos.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s basic intro to Simplifying and Meal Planning. If you have any questions or there is a topic you want to talk about, leave a comment on contact me. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Sunday!

 

xo,

Elizabeth

 

 

 

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