Most of my friends know that I’m am an organized person. But people always ask me how I organize and manage our meals for each night of the week. For the past two years we have been blessed with our housekeeper Ibu Sarni, so I haven’t had to cook every night, now I just cook Friday – Sunday. At home in Houston, I would cook at least six nights a week and plan to do the same when we go home. But because of the traffic here I have to plan ahead as it’s not easy to just swing by the store to decide what’s for dinner tonight, even though I wouldn’t do that in Houston either.
I know, in one of my recent posts I talked about having HappyFresh as a service that is great for those last minute things. While yes, that’s awesome and helps out, they don’t always have a time slot open or may not even have the exact item I’m looking for.
How I Meal Plan
So today, I wanted to share with you how we meal plan for the week.
Every Friday or Saturday I bring out my little planner to plan the meals for the week. Not only am I planning what we are having for dinner, but I also make the boys lunch every morning for school, so I plan those out too. I have to admit, sometimes this is easy, and others it’s a little more difficult because you have to think about what you think you are going to want during the week. I know, doesn’t sound fun that it’s all planned out and what if what you crave that night changes? Trust me, the day comes, and I may be craving something different than what we are having, but when you are trying to feed five people, you get what you get! That’s the beauty of meal planning; everyone gets their input at the beginning, knows what we are having that night, and knows that it’s not going to change.
So how does everyone get their input into the meals? I ask all the boys in my house what is one meal they would like to have for the week. After years, they know the drill and usually come with an answer pretty easily. Other times, they just leave it up to me. So when I’m the go-to person I have a couple of different things I use. If I just want to get it done, I go to our trusty cookbook. I have put together a cookbook that has about 40 recipes that we make regularly. Makes it a lot easier than researching Pinterest for recipes. If I’m feeling ambitious and looking for something new, that’s when I go to my Pinterest boards!
I have a few boards that I have accumulated over the years, and probably needs to be cleaned up, but they are categorized by type of food making it easy to search. When we moved to Jakarta one of the things I did was create a board of recipes I knew I could get all the ingredients to make here. When I’m planning our meals for the week, I have to focus and make sure it isn’t my fun time and spend countless hours on Pinterest. I just go to a board and see what I have a choose from there. If it’s something we love, we may add it to the recipe book, if something we like, but not to eat often it goes into a tested and approved board. Makes it easier to see what we have tried and what is still in the queue.
Once we have the list of what we are eating every night, it gets easy from there. Our pembantu is really good at making a list of things we have run out of and needed to purchase again. From there, I look to see what we have in the cupboards, freezer, and fridge and list out everything we need to get. As you can see, I have it all categorized by sections of the store, so it’s easier to manage my list and make sure I don’t forget anything.
So that’s the secret sauce! The reason I love this system is we don’t have any waste at the end of the week, or year old frozen chicken. Our refrigerator is pretty much empty by the next time we go to the store which means we are not losing money by tossing too much in the bin or just overbuying and going bad.
The key to getting on track to doing this is by making it habit! If you are interested, in starting to meal plan, you can download and use my meal planner here. I keep mine in a KikkiK, medium time planner which makes it easy to throw in my bag when I’m headed to the store, keep other appointments, and write down items we need during the week too. Try it for a month; I guarantee that it will be one less stress in your life!