Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simple Two Week Meal Planning Method For Busy Moms

It's 6 p.m. and the end of yet another hectic day. You're stressed and rushing around the kitchen like a mad woman. You've got hungry kids underfoot, a barking dog, homework deadlines, soccer practice sooner rather than later, and on top of that... you have no worldly idea of what to prepare for dinner.

Sound familiar?

Although it's a common scenario in many  households around the dinner hour, it doesn't have to be for your family.

One option that I've found to be a no muss, no fuss way that simplifies getting dinner on the table
for my family (without the chaos) is to use the two week meal planning method.

The basic idea is to make a list of 10 to 14 of your families favorite main dishes (I usually plan 5 meals a week, leaving 2 days open for leftovers and/or take-out) to build your meals around, and then simply put them on a two week rotation, serving a different one every day.

That's it, it's that simple.

Now granted there's not a ton of variety here, but chances are you're probably regularly preparing a handful of tried-and-true winners anyway.

Think about it, your family is eating meals whether you take the time to plan for them or not, so then why not put some forethought into it, right? You will save time, money, and your sanity!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning meals for your family:
Always keep staples on hand. A variety of frozen vegetables, pasta, peppers & onions, potatoes, rice, salad greens, etc.

Be flexible, nothing has to be written in stone. Work in a new recipe now and then, serve the meatballs on Tuesday instead of Thursday, if the zucchini is looking a little withered this week, buy the broccoli instead. You get the idea.

Determine what ingredients you will need before heading to the grocery store. After you have decided what recipes you want to make for the upcoming week, check your cupboards and fridge to see what you already have on hand. If you've got it, use it. Grab the remaining items from the grocery store.

Love your leftovers. Allow some space in your weekly schedule for "Leftover Night." Just heat them up and add a nice crispy green salad with crusty bread and let the family go to town! You practically get the night off and a chance to clean out the fridge.

When planning your weekly menus, be sure to keep your families schedule of weekly evening activities in mind. On nights when your family has many activities planned, go for something quick and easy like. Save the meatloaf for a lazy Sunday afternoon when time is on your side.

As you can see, meal planning doesn't have to be a complicated or time consuming ordeal, especially if you give the 2 week meal planning method a try.

Wouldn't it be such a relief to know that you don't have to worry about dinner every night? You will no longer dread dinner time, but in fact, you will actually look forward to it.

Bon Appetit!

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