**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom. Check it out!! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmrj6ilyMI5G2hnraXRWpEQ
I started meal planning earlier in the year and it has been a huge life saver! Instead of struggling each day to try to figure out what to cook for dinner, I decided to give it a try.
I started by making a list of my most popular dinners that I make, separated by categories (chicken, beef, pork, other). I also made a separate list of side dishes.
-Items with a * are slow cooker meals.-
I then printed out monthly calendars for the year using calendar-365.com
The hardest and most tedious part is filling in each day. I try to alternate chicken and beef while sprinkling in some pork and "other" foods. You can repeat the same schedule for each month or make a new one each month. I put the finished calendar in a plastic sleeve and hang it inside the door of a kitchen cabinet so it's hidden. ...just a personal preference.
I keep the meal lists in a binder in plastic sleeves to keep them clean along with each additional blank month.
Some people like to keep weekly meal plans as well which include breakfast and lunch. I personally find it to be too much work, so I stopped using those. I find that the monthly plan works just fine for me.
Meal planning is also good for grocery planning. When I make my grocery list, I look at my meal plan for the next 2 weeks and add anything that will be needed for those meals. It can also be helpful if you have a strict grocery budget. It cuts down on random groceries.
*Keep in mind, the meal plan is not written in stone. At least once a week, I stray from the plan either because I'm just not in the mood for what's on the schedule, I don't have the supplies for the meal, or time does not permit. That's ok! That's life. Just go with it :-)