Thursday, August 4, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Meal Planning Primer

I am really feeling this layout make over.  I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on it.  Now on to our topic for the day...

Baby Step 8 - Meal Planning Primer

Challenge: Make a meal plan of dinners for the week.

Why: Meal planning helps to be purposeful and intentional about food.  It is a tool to be able to make affordable and healthy meals that are also delicious and as simple and quick as possible.

How:  These are the steps that Stephanie uses in particular and our experiences with them.  Keep in mind that there are many different styles and techniques for meal planning though.

1. Take a quick inventory and put first things first - We looked through our pantry, fridge and freezer at what we had already.

2. Sit down with my planner and look at my week - We keep a white board calender on the fridge.  For us, we need to keep in mind any nights that we'll be out, having company, or that Brad will be at work in the evening.  This was a pretty hectic week for us with regard to suppertime.  We were having a day of fasting and prayer on Tuesday so no dinner needed, then invited out for dinner on Wednesday for a birthday, and Brad was going to be working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.

3. Use a favourite meal list - We do not have a written out list of our favourite meals, but I can see how this would be useful and think I might put one together eventually.  We just recently became vegetarians so because we are in the middle of changing our whole diet, it might be a little while before we know what our new favourites will be.

4. Have a basic schedule for each week - I love this idea!  She has a certain theme/category for each day of the week (chicken, fish, red meat, vegetarian, crock pot, etc) which simplifies the choosing process for each day.  The one that we have come up with is as follows.  Sunday - Left Overs/Easy, Monday - One Dish Meals, Tuesday - Meal Salads, Wednesday - Pasta/Noodle Dishes, Thursday - Sandwiches/Wraps, Friday - Skillet Meals, Saturday - Brad's Choice

5. Use a 2-week rotation -Stephanie says that this is a step where she differs from most people.  She sticks to her menu for the first week, but then attempts not to go grocery shopping for the second week by using up left overs and the groceries she purchased from the first week.  I like the idea, but don't think we will use it. We eat so much fresh fruits and vegetables that need to be bought pretty well weekly.  Also, I have never really found that we have many left overs.  (Brad takes care of that, haha.)

Here is how our week's menu turned out.

Sunday - Quinoa Burger Patties with Cooked Veggies (previously had made a big batch of patties)
Monday - Vegetarian Lasagna (will be freezing as well to use for meals to come)
Tuesday - nothing (fasting)
Wednesday - going out
Thursday - Black Bean Veggie Wrap
Friday - Tofu Stir Fry
Saturday - Quesadillas with Pan Fried Veggies

This has inspired my next crafty project to be making a really awesome menu to hang somewhere in the kitchen.  I have found some inspiration in these...

 The first is from le petit Yaka moderne which is all in French, and the second is from The Idea Room.

Do you menu plan?  What style or techniques do you use? 


I am so excited to announce that I will be guest blogging on Young and Crafty on Tuesday, August 9th at 8 AM (though I'm not sure what time zone that is in).  I'll remind you again when it's closer, and I hope you will check it out.


  1. I did this on BCIT dorms and I found food would last much longer because you can re-use left overs and spend less on food because the ingredients are shared between different meals :) Love the menu boards! They will come in handy later with kids, you won't have to hear "What's for dinner??"

  2. I love planning my dinners for a week. The only thing I really do differently is I plan meals for the week, not for the day. So, I come up with 5-6 meals, but dont plan which day will be which. It makes it so much easier for me because I can see what the day is like and just pick from the list. So if it's a day that's gotten out of hand, I can pick a quick meal. If my plans all got cancelled, I can pick a time intensive meal for that night. I am not boxed in by Tuesday being taco night.

  3. Oh, interesting! I like that idea too. Sometimes I really crave certain foods or am not in the mood for something, so the freedom you are describing appeals to me.

  4. I love this! Very cool! I was hoping that you would be able to email me the quinoa burger recipe! It sounds delicious and I am always looking for things that freeze well.

    BTW I love the community garden! Super fun! I have a garden at home and I have a huge passion for it. Except, I haven't harvested much yet because we are still building up our soil.

    I am super into responsible and eco friendly living! Can't wait to see more!
    Andie, your newest follower