Meal Planning

Today, I thought I’d share my take on meal planning. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and it helps me stay organized and on track with our budget.

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I first learned about meal planning from Unclutterer. I read the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week and marked a bunch of pages that I refer to whenever I’m cleaning out or reorganizing.

The section “Meal Planning and Eliminating Mealtime Stress” is especially helpful!

A few years ago, when this book was first published, preordering meant getting some bonus PDFs that went with various sections of the book. I used the meal planning PDF for my first few weeks of meal planning, then adjusted it to our needs.

Eventually, I decided not to use paper versions but to set up a marker board instead. Here it is:

old meal board

Pretty high tech operation, isn’t it? ; )

I used my label maker to make labels that say To Do, Meal, and Prepare Ahead. I do my meal planning on Sunday mornings and cook that day, so I didn’t mind losing that column to the labels.

Each week, I start off meal planning by filling in the To Do section. It helps me remember if we’re going out to eat with friends or family one night, and it keeps me from planning to cook a four course meal on a night I’m planning to go to yoga class! Then I fill in the meals and make a note of anything I need to prepare ahead of time.

I make my grocery list based on the plan, and that’s it! I choose recipes based on food we already have in the house so we can use up what’s here and we only have to purchase what we really need.

The next week, I erase and start over. Pretty simple solution, right?

This little marker board has served me well for about four years now, but it’s starting to get a bit funky. The filmy top layer that makes it erasable is starting to bubble and peel in a few places, and it takes some scrubbing to erase the spots that aren’t peeling.

Time for an upgrade, don’t you think? Stay tuned to see how I created our new and improved meal planning board!

new meal board

How about you? Are you a meal planner, too, or do you prefer to see what inspires you during the week? I can see the benefits of both, and I love hearing about other people’s organization systems!

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