Do you ever have one of those weeks coming up where you are going to be crazy busy? Do you wish you had created a meal plan? It seems to happen more often than not. I think one of the keys to continuing to eat healthily and not be stressed at 4 pm every evening is having a plan in place for what we are going to eat that week.
I also know that sometimes, the week hits and suddenly things are busy. Things come up that were not planned and you have to adapt on the fly. Using an editable template can allow you to change things if you are one of those people who does not like to have a plan that gets all marked up. By allowing yourself the freedom to change things as you go you also do not feel let down when everything changes.
If I had planned a complicated chicken casserole and something came up and we ended up being super busy, as long as I have taken the chicken out to thaw, we can still have something such as grilled chicken on the bbq or chicken roasted in the oven. The freedom to make changes to a meal plan is what allows me to make it work when things turn upside down.
Am I going to be home for meals? Do I need to plan for meals on the go? Are we going to be out for dinner on any nights? Can I make lots of something and have leftovers either for lunches or another meal. Do I have time to make things ahead, or do I need to but somethings that are already prepared? These are some of the first questions that I need to answer. I fill in any meals that are going to be eaten out into my template and then I work out from their.
What food do I already have in the pantry, freezer and fridge? Are there things that I can make that do not involve a trip to the grocery store when we are already busy? I am looking for things that are quick and easy when I am going to have a crazy week… which let’s be realistic here, seems like all the time.
I am always thankful when I have made a lot of snack or breakfast things ahead of time and I can pull things out of the freezer. Granola bars, baked oatmeal, frozen pancakes, waffles and muffins are great to pull out of the freezer. Homemade granola is always super yummy but in a crunch having store-bought granola will help keep us full longer than a sugar cereal.
Now that you know all the things that you already have it is time to sit down with your piece of paper or computer and write something out. Sometimes I start with a list and work from there. I will write out all the meals that I think we may want to have during the week and then fill it into somewhat of a schedule.
Having a copy of my meal plan in the kitchen helps me not be scrambling to figure out what I need to pull from the freezer for the next day. If the plan is right there when I am cleaning up from supper it will remind me that I need to get ready for the next day.
If having a paper copy on the fridge or counter is not for you, you could always try putting a reminder in your phone to get things ready for the next day. These type of reminders are always helpful for me, I get in a rush and forget to even check the things around me. Having the reminder sends me to the freezer or pantry to check that everything is ready for the next day.
When I sit down to plan out my week in my Planner I maker sure I make notes of what I might need to do ahead of time. I love using my happy planner to keep track of everything. This way I have a reference if things need to be done ahead of time. Like taking frozen muffins out the night before so they can be thawed for the morning. (Although they can be taken out in the morning and warmed up). I also make note if I am going to need to go to the grocery store and make sure that I have a detailed list… this list prevents me from going to the store every day. Going to the store constantly is not something I need to do when I am busy.
You are ready for the week, ready to face it with a plan for your tummy and those little tummies around you that are aways growling. Here is a quick look at the meal plan I had for the week, we were moving, organizing new schools, and dealing with a broken arm.
This week will breakfast will include
- Waffles and Fruit Salad
- Egg Sandwichs
- Baked Oatmeal
Lunch will be a combination of leftovers and simple quick items
- Rice Bowls
Suppers are the hardest but will a combination of quick and easy and prep ahead items:
- BBQ’d Chicken and Salad
- BLT Salad
- Pulled Pork and Potatoes
- Steak and Grilled Veggies
- Grilled Pork Chops
We will also being going out one night for our 10 year Anniversary so that is our “out” night.
Meal planning makes my life simpler, hopefully this meal plan helps someone else out when life gets crazy.