Meal planning in the real world

We’re a meal planning family. I wish I could tell you we do it every week without complaining, but that’s not the case. I HATE meal planning, but I do it. I do it for a few reasons. First of all, I work full time. I get home at 5:00 and Blake, my son, is usually STARVING by 5:15. I also am not a creative cook. I love to eat but I don’t love to cook. Unfortunately, the 2 tend to go hand in hand. I can’t open my fridge and look at the ingredients and come up with a meal. I tried it once and no one liked my concoction.

But back to the point, meal planning. There are a ton of posts out there on how to meal plan, and I tried most of them. But most didn’t work for us, so here is my meal plan strategy.

I look at the calendar and determine when the next time is that I can grocery shop or order my groceries (I use the Hy-Vee online ordering and it’s amazing. I will post about that later). This week it looks like I can grocery shop again on Sunday. Next, I look at the calendar for those 8 days and determine which nights we are all home, which nights we need a quick dinner and which nights we need no dinner. I also work from home on Wednesdays so I can plan a dinner that I might need to start earlier in the day or that I can prep over lunch.

Photo Jan 31, 8 27 38 PM

So now I can see I need 4 dinners for all of us, 1 dinner for Blake and I and we have 1 night where we don’t know what’s going on. Saturdays we are usually out and about doing something so I usually plan leftovers for that night. I also work in the office 4 days a week and I from 1 day a week from home so I try to plan quicker, crock pot or meals I can prep ahead of time on the days I work in the office.

I use a recipe app to store my recipes and make my grocery list (more about that coming soon). I can tag my recipes as a crockpot meal,  quick meal or any number of different categories I have set up. On Sunday I try to do any meal prep for Monday and Tuesdays as well as make my lunches for the week. I normally work from home on Wednesday so I try to use my lunch on Wednesdays to prep anything I can for Thursday and Fridays dinner.

I use the reminder app on my iPhone to store the recipes I have planned for the week. I tried making cool meal boards and other methods and somehow I ALWAYS forgot to write the meals on the list. FAIL! But being I am already using my recipe app on my phone or computer it is easier for me to make my meal list right there on my phone too. The recipe app I use has a meal plan feature but Glenn doesn’t have the app on his phone (and if you know Glenn you know he is anti-technology, even using the reminders took a while) so by putting it in the reminders app its easy for us both to access when we are trying to determine what to eat each night.

Weekly Meal Plan

That is one more thing I should add, while we meal plan we don’t plan what to eat each night. I just plan the meals we are going to buy ingredients for and then we can decide the night before (or more likely at noon when I remember “oh crap we didn’t talk about what was for dinner”) which of the meals we are hungry for. One too many times did we plan to eat something only to get to that day and neither of us ends up hungry for that. So for us this is a happy medium.

Now, this is my ideal plan. But as the name of my blog states, while I usually get an A for effort, that doesn’t mean this always happens. But if I can manage to be prepared most of the time I think I can call that a win!

Happy meal prepping and aim for that a for effort.

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