I have had the intention to meal plan and started a few times over the past couple of years, only to last about a week before I get back into my old, non-meal planning habits. I kick myself, because I know I could save time and money by sitting down and planning some things out, but it is easier said than done. I have tried meal planning websites and leaving post-it notes in cookbooks, but I have a hard time following through and don’t have a particularly good reason why.
One thing I have had success with this past month was having a general theme for two days a week. This helps me narrow down dinner plans for those particular night, without restricting me to a particular recipe and if I’m inspired to make something else, that is fine too. It is only for two nights, so I don’t get overwhelmed by over-planning, yet I feel like I am having some success in meal planning.
I came up with dorky alliterations for my meal themes, but is makes it fun. Spaghetti Sunday and Pizza Party Thursdays have actually been going strong! Yes, we deviate from time to time, but whenever I don’t have time or inspiration to decide on dinner for the night, I have two days a week that I can quickly narrow down what I can make. I have even convinced my husband that Spaghetti Sunday can be his night to give me a break from cooking, since it is something he knows how to make. It started out as a joke of sorts, but he has been jumping in to make dinner on spaghetti night many nights and I love it!
Other daily theme ideas I have come up with that I can add to my meal “theme-ing” if I feel like I have a flow going and can manage planning additional days include: Morning Monday (breakfast foods for dinner), Whippersnapper Wednesday (kid-oriented foods), Frugal Friday (leftover night) and Souper Saturday (perfect for the upcoming fall weather). Come on, give it a try and come up with one of your own!
Although I am not particularly loyal to a single brand of spaghetti sauce for our pasta night, I remember my mother purchasing Ragu sauce a lot growing up and it was the first brand I purchased after I left home. It is still a go-to brand for our family. Actually, spaghetti in general is, since it seems like one of the few dishes that my daughter will eat every time. To spice things up a bit, we have been choosing different kinds of pasta for our spaghetti nights, although my daughter loves a traditional spaghetti shape, the corkscrews and bow ties have been popular picks.
Ragu has started a Facebook community called Mom’s the Word where you can share your dinner stories and they also have a new video titled “when dinner gets tough” available on Youtube. Check out their page, get inspired or motivated and let me know what meal planning or themes have worked for you!