Updated: Dec 18, 2020
I love Sundays. The reflective and most relaxed day of my week.
For my family, Sunday includes a few key weekly routines that help keep our weekdays organized and on track. One of those routines is weekly meal planning. It's important for our family as we usually eat 6 out of 7 meals in a week at home. We've found that not only is eating at home healthier and less expensive, but it's also faster if we plan ahead.
For us, weekly meal planning isn't very complicated. We simply gather everyone in the family for 10 minutes to review the family calendar for the week ahead. We go through each day on by one reviewing work and after school activities schedules and we discussed if the kids will be eating packed lunch or school lunch and what we'd like to eat for dinner. Getting kids involved in the prep and planning of the meals is an important life skill. Getting them involved in a routine early in their life can set them up for success many years down the road.
In all reality, the weekly meal planning is more important to me than to my husband for two reasons. First, he's a much more inventive cook than I am and can be inspired by the pantry after a long day at work, where I'd rather just look at a recipe and make it.
We try to keep things simple, so if we have 6:00 soccer practice and only one parent can make it home to prepare dinner, then we'll plan a meal that's easier to prepare. If one of us is working from home during the day or has a flexible afternoon, we'll plan a meal that might use the crock pot or has more prep steps. Once we decide on our meal, we simply write it on the chalkboard that is in our kitchen (pictured below).
The format of the chalkboard is pretty simple. Days of the week go along the left hand side with two major columns ... one for lunch and one for dinner. We have codes for lunch. PL for packed lunch and SL for school lunch. Guess my kids were not too happy with the school lunch options the week I took this picture!
Since I always have a little room at the bottom of the chalkboard, I put quote on the board each week for inspiration, reflection and growth.
I'm writing this for those who are looking to simplify their life so they can enjoy it more. Meal planning is certainly helped us in many ways. It has simplified meal time, improved the quality and variety of our meals, it has allowed us to focus our shopping trips and given us more time together as a family. If you struggle with dinners, weekly meal planning might just be your ticket to a more stress-free and organized week. It's as easy as giving it a try!