Up until recently, meal planning was a serious stressor in my life. Most weeks I would scramble to come up with dinner dishes moments before running to do my grocery shop for the week. Or I would become so inspired that I would overcommit to making a handful of dishes, buy all the ingredients, and then life would get in the way. I could not seem to get into a proper rhythm of planning and executing meals and it left me in a major rut. It wasn’t until I piggybacked on to an existing habit that I’m now able to meal plan with efficiency and ease.
I’m a Pinterest person. I pin everything from how to stretch the IT band to finding my next I-can’t-believe-it’s-vegan dessert. I recently started a meal planning board at the beginning of each new month, where I pin family favourites or new recipes to try out. Check out my February selection here. Now on Sunday nights, I open up my phone and pick just 3 meals that I want to make for the upcoming week. I then go ahead and place a grocery order on Instacart, having my groceries, and any special ingredients needed, delivered to my home the following Monday morning.
In the past I have meal planned 5-6 meals at a time and honestly, it was way too much. All that energy I spent coming up with ideas, grocery shopping, and light meal prep resulted in spoiled ingredients or leftovers that died in the back of the fridge. I have found, mostly through trial and error, that 3 is the magic number of meals needed to be cooked during the weekday for our household. Cooking three meals per week gives us plenty of leftovers, the flexibility to order take-out once a week, and a nice reprieve from cooking each night. On the weekends, we can be more spontaneous with our meals choices; grabbing something while we are out or making use of whatever is in our pantry. It’s been such a relief to FINALY figure out what works for our family and now meal planning is no longer a source of dread each week, it’s actually something I look forward to.
How about you? What’s your meal planning strategy for the week? I love hearing new ideas or different ways people tackle this never-ending household task.