Meal planning does not come easily to me. Does it come easily to anyone? I need to know your secrets. There's something about the task of deciding what we're going to eat for the week that sends all recipes and favourite foods scurrying out of my head.
These days, I'm using two things to help this predicament.
Pepperplate is a free meal planning website and app that allows you to import your favourite recipes and turn them into meal plans, menus, and shopping lists. It takes some time to set up, since your account comes empty, with no recipes in it whatsoever, but I'm hoping that, after a few weeks of tracking our meals and recipes on it, I'll be able to easily pull together plans for our week.
Twice now, I've also used the shopping list feature that comes with it. On one hand, it works great, but it's a little more cumbersome than a simple list on a piece of paper, so I'm not sure I'll continue to use it.
This was a simple DIY that I just completed yesterday, so we'll see if it even works for us. I pulled out a very dusty frame that we've had sitting around, doing nothing for ages. It lived in the garage for a while, then found it's way into Isabel's bedroom closet. It was just a cheap frame, and I'm fairly certain the style is still easy to find, but I could have used any type of frame. This one is nice because it has twelve panes to break things up easily.
See what I mean by dusty? And look how young those kids look! Before my hair started to go grey, before Mark trimmed his hair into a proper, professional cut.
I removed the photos as carefully as I could, but most of them had been in the frame so long, they had stuck to the glass and ripped. Oh well; we have the digital files somewhere, sitting on one old computer or another. I used the old photos as a template to cut new paper to put into the frames. At first, I just used white paper, but then, I remembered that I still had a pack of patterned paper tucked away with my craft supplies. Much better than white, yes?
It hangs in our kitchen now, a prominent place to remind me of what we're going to be eating each day of the week. It also contains schedules, upcoming plans, shopping lists, messages, and to-do tasks. I think it doesn't look too bad, but that wall definitely needs more. Some kind of artwork maybe?
Are these things actually going to help me keep to a meal plan for the first time ever? I don't know. Maybe. What do you think? If you meal plan, how do you stick to it in order to avoid waste, and keep your family appropriately fed?