After completing the Freezer and Pantry Challenge hosted by Keeper of the Home over the past month, I realized a few things about my meal planning tendencies. It reinforced the necessity of meal planning in my life, and also helped me realize it’s something I need to keep improving!
Pen and Paper
I have since returned to my pen-and-paper ways for meal planning. While doing the challenge, I created my first two weeks’ plans on my computer. It’s the same meal plan spreadsheet I’ve been using for several years, but I typed it all in and printed it out instead of just writing in my plans.
While I liked how nice and tidy it looked, I didn’t like needing to plan the entire week all at once. I really do prefer to do three to four days at a time. I also tend to move items around and it drove me a bit crazy that I couldn’t erase anything!
I also found that I tended to procrastinate even more on meal planning, which is really saying something, when I felt that I needed to come up with the entire week’s plan. Regular meal planning is still a struggle for me, and I think it’s best that I do everything to make it more enjoyable rather than more of a chore.
My Checklist Method
On the meal plan spreadsheet that I use, I have a “prep” space available. That’s where I list any defrosting I need to do or items that I need to make that don’t necessarily fall into a regular meal slot, such as sauerkraut.
I’ve always just kind of haphazardly decided what extras I’m going to make each week. I would either plan in items that sounded good to me or ones I knew I was out of. However, I didn’t always plan on making a fermented vegetable every week, which is something I tend to run out of frequently. I felt like it would be helpful to be more intentional about the prep items I’m making each week.
So this week I’m trying something new. I’m basing my “extra” items on this checklist below. I may make more than one, but my goal is to include at least one of each of the following:
- Bread (more likely to be pancakes, crackers, or muffins)
- Fermented veggie
- Fermented dairy
- Staple (mayo, nut butter, hardboiled eggs, etc.)
A Little Help
This week I’m also going to go back and read through Stephanie’s e-book about meal planning again. She’s got some great tips in there that I think would be helpful for me to review. One thing that she recommends is making a list of favorite family meals to use a reference when making your meal plan. I’ve been meaning to do that for months!
If you feel like you need some help with meal planning, Stephanie of Keeper of the Home has all of her e-books discounted right now, including Plan It, Don’t Panic: Complete Meal Planning Resource. She has extended it until the end of the month. You can use the coupon code CHALLENGE25 to take 25% off any single ebook, OR use code BUNDLE50 to buy all 3 of her ebooks at 50% off!
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