My Menu Planning

If you hang out here with any regularity, you will likely have noticed that I plan 21 meals a week.  That’s right- breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week, assigned to that specific day.  I think this leaves most people thinking one of two things about me- either, 1) I’m very organized OR 2) I’m very inflexible.  Neither is entirely true.

 

Today, I’m going to let you in my head a little bit to help you understand exactly how, and why, I plan the way I do…

 

Breakfasts

 

If you look back through the months, you’ll notice something: my planned breakfasts always follow this pattern-

Sunday: Cereal, fruit or yogurt, milk or juice (for the kids- I fast before 8:30am Mass)

Monday: Oatmeal, prepared with some kind of fruit, milk

Tuesday & Wednesday: Muffins, quick bread, or coffee cake, served with a dairy and a fruit

Thursday: Toast of some kind, with a variety of sides

Friday: Smoothies with fruit and/or toast

Saturday: Varies!

While the type of oatmeal, muffin, toast, and smoothie will change constantly, the pattern remains the same.  This makes planning a snap.

 

Dinners

 

My dinners aren’t quite as regimented as my breakfasts, but I still employ limiting guidelines that help me get it outlined quickly-

Wednesday: My son has karate and we have to head out the door pretty much right as Daddy gets home.  I try to plan something “portable” so my husband can take it to-go.  (Think burritos, burgers, chicken sandwiches, etc.)

Thursday: Baseball practice and my husband works late.  I plan simple suppers I can pack for the kids to eat at the ball field.  My husband and I often share soup and homemade bread after they’re all tucked in.

Friday: Pizza and a movie night!

Saturday: I frequently don’t know for sure what we may end up doing on a Saturday, so I like to plan meals I can either toss together in a flash or leave in the crock pot all day.

Sunday: We often have Sunday Supper at my parents’ house, so I tend to leave this spot blank when planning.

Mondays and Tuesdays are the only nights I am free to make whatever strikes my fancy.  Those are the days I make putzy things and messy things!

 

Lunches

 

Lunches are the last meals I plan each week.  I base them on what leftovers I suspect we might have.  I also try to fill in any nutritional “gaps” I see at lunchtime.  If the day seems light on proteins, I might plan an egg and cheese sandwich with apples with peanut butter on the side.  If we’re lacking veggies, perhaps I’ll pencil in a pasta salad chock full of vegetables.  The only lunch that is consistent is Friday… we have cheesy beans and rice every single Friday.  Because of the nature of Thursday’s supper, there are rarely leftovers.  In addition, cheesy beans and rice works perfectly even during Lent when we observe meatless Fridays.  It just makes it simple.

 

So there you go.  Now you know my secret.  Menu planning around here doesn’t take nearly as long as I imagine some people assume.  The whole key?  Patterns.  Having a pattern makes planning 21 meals a walk in the park.

 

Do you menu plan?  Do you have a routine or pattern?  Am I crazy? ;)

 

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