Before I say anything, I have to thank my sweet friend Lauren because she gave me the idea to do this. When I sat down to think of enough meals for a week rather than a month, my stress levels minimized 50%--no joke! Dinner always had me on edge because I rarely had a plan.
I couldn't find time every month to sit down and write out (or even think up!) enough meals for an entire month. It was just too much overload on my brain. But one week? I could do that.
I use this same menu every week.
What I love about this menu is I can still be very flexible. The meals are already laid out in front of me. Some times I switch the days based on our schedule. But seriously, knowing what I am making everyday helps me know what to thaw out in the morning, helps me plan ahead so I can begin prepping the meal earlier in the day, and makes grocery list making a cinch!
Speaking of groceries--knowing what I'm making each week actually helps me create a solid grocery list rather than a choppy one. I will list only the ingredients I know I need rather than throwing a few things on there in fleeting thought and then realizing mid-week I need another ingredient or two in order to complete a meal.
Less food is wasted because it's getting eaten, not just sitting on a shelf in the fridge waiting.
I have tried different menu making tools and they are all neat tools. I just couldn't find one that really worked for me in this particular season.
Once spring/summer hit, I can change the menu to more seasonal meals. It will give us a break from this menu and allow us to try something fresh.
My menu carries a lot of chicken options because my husband is sensitive to too many saucy or greasy foods. I used to have Tilapia on our menu but one night my 4-year old daughter had a reaction and I am not certain if it was from the fish or something else. She has eaten fish before without any issues and has since had another reaction from something completely unrelated. By reaction, I mean she broke out in hives.
So, in the future that will hopefully end up on our menu again. In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying this simple menu plan where I don't have to worry about coming up with new meals every week. My children are still young and many of their taste buds aren't allowing me to make too many dishes, let alone try anything new. I've finally accepted that and worked with it.
What do you find most frustrating or challenging about menu planning?