For the past year, I’ve been trying to meal plan every week. I’m not always successful, which results in multiple trips to the grocery store after work each day. But when I am successful, I only have to hit up the grocery store twice a week (one big trip and then one re-fill trip to make sure we have enough apples, deli turkey, milk and bagels.) My process for meal planning is to sit down with my Pinterest open and go through the recipes I’ve pinned. Once I realize that most of it would not be enjoyed by my kids, I write down our basics for each day of the week with Friday always being Pizza Night.
Our basics include, but are not limited to:
- Chicken Tacos
- Beef Tacos
- Grilled Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Tender Salad
- Chicken Cheesesteaks
- French Dip Sandwiches
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Hamburgers and Roasted Potatoes
- Taco Salad
While these are all delicious and have variations depending on the side dishes and veggies, it can get old.
To encourage our whole family to try new things and to support more healthy eating, we started a new meal planning system. This was all Jeremy’s idea and execution, but I am enjoying it. Here is the gist…
We made a list of the proteins, carbs and veggies we eat. Some of our favorites were doubled up (for example: chicken and salad) while others were combined into one (for example: ground beef/ground turkey and peas/green beans.) Each choice is listed next to a number 1-6. So there are 6 proteins choices, 6 carb choices and 6 veggie choices. Every Saturday, I sit down with the master list and Yahtzee dice. I shake up the dice and then write down the corresponding meal choice for that roll. For instance, I could roll a 2, a 5 and a 3. That would mean chicken, potatoes and asparagus. I write that down for Meal 1 and move on to the rest. In all, I roll for 5 meals knowing that Friday is still pizza night and that we’ll most likely go out to dinner one night over the weekend. If I get too many of the same, I allow myself to roll again or pick a different choice that would fit the meal better. Once I have all 5 meal choices down, I start figuring out how I’ll be preparing them. It’s a challenge, but I like pushing my creativity. And Jeremy joins in to help too!
Let me ask you… What would you make if you rolled Pork, Tortilla and Broccoli? Or No Meat, Potatoes and Corn?
The end result is that I’ve actually started trying some of my Pinterest recipes. I’ve been looking for more vegetarian options for those “No Meat” days. And we have started to appreciate the old basics more, especially after multiple failed attempts at new recipes.
Here are some of my more successful attempts at new things… (and when I say successful, it means at least Jeremy and I both liked it!)
Hmmm… Only 2? I thought I had more than that. Ha! Goes to show that it’s been a tough road so far. But I’m not giving up yet! One of my goals is to get my kids to like black beans before the year is over. If they liked black beans, it would open up so many more options, especially for those vegetarian days. If you have any tips, let me know!
All in all, I’ve been enjoying meal planning by the roll of the dice. Can’t wait to see what Lady Luck chooses for us next week!