Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Works-for-Me-Wednesday: Meal Calendar


I used to get so frustrated on grocery shopping day. It would play out like this. I needed to go to the store. I made a list of meals. I made a list of ingredients for those meals. I looked in the pantry and refrigerator to determine the extra needed items. I checked for coupons. I printed my list and I drug myself to the store. I shopped and then came home and put away the groceries. This took up a lot of time. Often, I would make the list on Sunday afternoon and then shop on Sunday night. I felt like I only had a one day weekend.

I have a new method for grocery shopping that has made a difference in my attitude and in what we are eating from week to week. For starters, I work on my list on a separate day. I plan the meals and work on the ingredient list on a day that is not shopping day. The second thing I do is I make a Meal Calendar for the month. I printed a calendar from a free printable calendar website. Each week I write down the meals that we are going to have. I write the meals in pencil to allow me the flexibility to move a meal from night to night. Then, I can look back over the earlier weeks and know that we are not eating the same thing from week to week (with the excpetion of pizza, of course!). The calendar keeps me aware of what we are eating and we do not get tired of eating the same meals over and over. I also am committed to trying one new recipe every week.

* One additional note based on the first comments I received: I do not plan for the entire month at once. I wish I was that organized (maybe one day!). I just plan one week at a time and look back at the calendar as a record of what we have had recently.

20 comments:

Cheri-Beri said...

I do something similar and it makes such a difference in my overall meal preparation attitude - lol.

Alicia said...

I've never done a meal calendar, but I think I need to!!!!

Homesteader in Training said...

Don't you just love being able to answer the age old question. What's for dinner? It just sets the mind at ease lol.
Blessings,
Kim

Trisha said...

What a great idea. I do the weekly calendar but the monthly makes more sense. I just made my meal plan and grocery list last night! So that means the store today... ugh!

Carmom said...

I usually do the weekly meal plan. I just can't seem to do an entire month in advance. I usually head to the grocery on Thurs. since I have no kids on that day. So my list is made the day before. It does help to be able to say we are having __ for dinner. And then I don't have to think about it either. I also usually plan a leftover day as well. Then we have to eat those leftovers!

He And Me + 3 said...

I used to have a meal calandar...it worked and i am not sure why I quit...I really need to start that up again.

sarah said...

I am loving my meal planning too. I found a few really good web sites I will send you-although being the webby you are you probably already have them. I am speaking on meal planning in feb at MOPS so send me any info you have-also I may site you if thats ok in my link page handout. I think it is always most helpful to get ideas from other moms in the same boat we are in.

Kimberly said...

hey, where's the link to the free calendar website? i totally need to do this myself. i've been procratinating at starting it up but really just need to sit down and do it. back before kids when I worked outside the home I tried to be a bit more organized with my meal planning. i would usually do it on a Wed or Thurs and i would go through the ads to see what the grocery stores already had on sale and then I'd clip my coupons and so on. this can be a huge additional money saver!

Abby said...

That is a good idea. I plan for the week, but I don't do the calendar thing.

momstheword said...

I try to combine my grocery shopping with running errands. My menu planning day is after the flyers come out, so I can see what's on sale.

I have just recently started menu planning again and so far it's going well. Of course, this is only my first week!

Runningamuck said...

I love the calendar! I make meal "lists" but that handy-dandy calendar would be much easier. And I like the idea of having a record of at least the previous month to make sure I'm not repeating meals too often.

Thanks for the great tips!

Mandi said...

I usually do all of mine on the same day too, and you're right – it can be so overwhelming! I think what I'd like to do is get a master list of meals too, because I can never think of different meals when planning time comes!

Sandra said...

A meal calendar is a great idea. I also like how you try a new recipe each week. I think I will try this, but I'm going to start a little slower and try a new one every 2 weeks. Thanks for the post, and thanks for visiting my WFMW post!

Sandra

McCrakensx4 said...

I want to be that organized!! You go girl! As I am driving home I am usually deciding what we will be eating...not so good!

Angie said...

I plan for a month at a time, but I have gotten bad about putting together my calendar. I need to get back into the habit. Thanks for your post. That will be good encouragement!

Kathy said...

I might steal this idea, Jane Anne... My meals stink lately, and now having Bill at home makes me motivated to cook!!! Thank you!!!

Missus Wookie said...

I buy whatever meat is on sale - taking advantage of loss leaders but don't worry about them being used immediately. Trying to keep up a perpetual pantry and freezer stock.

So my shopping isn't always related to what we are eating this week.

Menu planning is such a blessing to me tho'!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Oh this is a great idea! I think I might try it. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I plan meals monthly and I write it on my actual calendar so I have it based on activities. I know when I'll be home to cook and when it needs to be a crock pot meal. I am still flexible, though, and just draw arrows or whatever if something changes. We only cook every other night and have leftovers - but we are not feeding 4 kids and my husband does like leftovers.
Sharon

Jeanne said...

I do the very same thing, except I do try to plan them a month at a time. I'm just very bad about sticking to it. lol