When I decided that I wanted to stop wasting so much food and money, we had a family sit-down to discuss options. For each meal, we all contributed our favorites so we had a decent sized list to work with. We started meal planning in January. Unfortunately, I did not keep my lists or menus but I can tell you that we started with crock-pot meals and casseroles, such as beef and broccoli stir fry and lasagna. This past month we did more soups and dump meals. We grocery shop on Saturday morning then we come back and my husband and I get to work. Yes, he gets right in there to help. Our daughter also likes to help so we have the 3 of us moving around the kitchen. With the 3 of us we have it down to about 3 hours to prep or make all of our meals for the next month.
Make sure you have your basics for meal planning. Gallon size bags, throw away casserole pans (or if you are a collector like me make sure all your glass casserole pans are clean 🙂 ), make sure you have tin foil and a marker to write on your bags or throw away dishes.
Now, as much as I love having my calendars on my phone to keep everyone’s schedules in-line I purchased a big desk calendar from Amazon to hang in our kitchen for our menu. This way we already know every day what we will be having. If we need to make a change then ok no big deal just change it. Here is a picture of this past month. As you can see, we have made changes throughout the month but we still are keeping track of what we have eaten. If, for some reason, we end up eating out or at a relative’s house for dinner, I take that meal we skipped and add it to the next open day at the end of the calendar. This way we don’t forget about it and the food is still eaten up before we start on the new food for the next month. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing a meal you made MONTHS ago in the back of the freezer and trying to eat it but it is so freezer burnt it just gets tossed. So make sure you keep your running list of the meals you have made and are in the freezer, along with what you have eaten.