Meal planning for those who are too busy (Me. You.)

“What’s for dinner?” It’s the dreaded thought that enters my mind every single day around 3 pm. Why do they need to EAT? My gosh, it’s exhausting coming up with something Every Single Day. And while I thought toddler-hood was hard – so very hard – it’s only gotten worse with pickiness and ACTIVITIES. Activities are a full time job in and of themselves. How do people do it??

Well, here’s what I do. I’m not always on top of it, but when I am, I have a little more zen in my life around dinner time.

Sunday nights: come up with a menu for the coming week. Yes there will be days no one can possibly eat together (or at all), but you can take that all into account.

Then, fill in the items you’ll need to make those meals happen. I know, not revolutionary, but I created my planner so that those items are now listed in the order they are found in my (and most every) grocery store. Just weave through the aisles, and before you know it you are back home with a big glass of wine.

For example: For Monday, you enter Lasagna. Then in the right column, fill in needed ingredients not in a list, but instead in the grocery sections they are found in. When you get to the store, it’s easy just to go through and grab all ingredients for the week as you make your way through the store. Nothing forgotten, no turning back, no zig zagging around… Just roll through and DONE.

BONUS: you can save the sheets and reuse your already planned meals. Here’re a bunch of my old ones, all set to go:

Look at all the work, already done for me!

Another way I’ve found to speed things up is to have a general idea of which types of meals to make on certain days. (Any way I can turn off my brain makes this process so much easier). For example, here’s an idea:

M: meat/potato
T: taco/mexican
W: pasta, soup, salad
T: pizza
F: fish
S: grill out?
S: breakfast for dinner?

So, here is my planner. Feel free to download if you’d like. And comment how it goes for you!