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Sometimes its the most difficult question of the day.

Sometimes its the most difficult question of the day.

It is the universal question that never stops. Sometimes it can be the worst part of your day.  You’re hungry, your family is cranky, even the dog is laying limp next to an empty food dish, and all you can say is, “I have no idea! You’re all gonna starve tonight.” This is me, without my wonderful meal planning method that keeps each day from turning into a bad case of the Mondays!

How I fought it for a long time, it just seems like it take so much energy, energy I felt like I just didn’t have.  I used to have this perfect neighbour that made up her entire months worth of fabulous meals and would head off to the grocery store to buy everything she needed, and she even had a mid-month list of the things she would need.  While I admire her greatly, the whole thing made me a little sick. The daunting task of monthly meal planning just overwhelmed me, I didn’t even know where to begin.

I soon discovered that while a whole month was to much, maybe a week would be fine. Well guess what, it worked! One week at a time. I sit down one day, make my list, go shopping, and am one happy camper when my husbands looks as me and says, “Whats for dinner?”

So how did I get here? Pinterest helped me a LOT!  But in the end, I had to evaluate how I do things, and adapt all the ideas out there into one that would work for me.  I started with a recipe box, and some blank 4×6″ index cards and my pile of recipe books and my Pinterest account.  I made a card for each recipe, writing down the ingredients and a brief explanation of the preparation.  For the more difficult recipes I wrote down which of my books I could find it in.

Each week I sift through my recipe box, and what we’ve eaten the previous weeks, and make a new list.  As I make my weekly meal plan I also make my grocery list.  The weekly meal plan gets pinned to the side of my fridge and the grocery list goes in my purse.  Not only has this eased some of my daily anxiety, but it’s helped out the pocket book because now we have a pretty good idea of what we are spending on food.
Do I stick to my plan exactly? Goodness No! If I want stir-fry and it’s Monday, I swap it out.  Also, if I get to the store and I had planned on a roast lamb, but beef roast is on sale and looks fabulous, I substitute. Remember, meal planning is supposed to be a tool for your ease. What you do need is a plan, a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly plan.
Start small, one week at a time. Maybe recipe cards and organising this way just isn’t for you. You can still plan out what you are cooking from day to day, make an ingredient list and check the pantry before heading to the store. Find a system that works for you and use it. Then stop back by here and let me know what kind of system you found works best for you. I’m always looking for new ideas to simplify my life!