I was asked to share about planning meals for my family on the POH blog. And Kelly is doing a "Show us Your life" -- Organization blog fest. So I thought I might as well post about how I organize our meals.
For breakfast, we usually have some kind of eggs and fruit and often some kind of grain (pancakes, waffles, toast, muffins, quinoa, oatmeal, etc.) I know you might think breakfast takes forever if I'm always cooking eggs, but it really only takes a minute to fry or scramble some eggs. And they are just so good for us! Eggs contain every nutrient your body needs except Vitamin C! Needless to say, my little family goes through 3 dozen eggs a week :) We have recently started grinding our own grain so I've been trying to make it all from scratch since its so much healthier. But I always make extra pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc, and freeze them so I really only cook such things once or twice a week. We do not usually does not eat store-bought cereal for breakfast because its processed and not really that good for us. Instead, I make my own cereal and granola to have on hand for quick breakfasts. HERE is a list of our favorite breakfasts.
I don't plan lunches because we usually just eat leftovers or a simple sandwich. We LOVE coconut oil and it is sooooo incredibly good for us! We use it instead of mayonnaise or Ranch or other spreads on our sandwiches. It is sweet, so I've found that we no longer even need jam with our peanut butter sandwiches or syrup on our pancakes. And it makes the best greasy, healthy grilled cheese sandwich ever :)
Snacks are pretty consistent. We usually has plain, unsweetened, home-made yogurt or unsweetened applesauce with homemade granola, or we eat some fruit and cheese and almonds or pecans. And I make healthy homemade butter crackers and graham crackers that my girls ask for throughout the day when they want to munch. I'm still working on getting my husband to give up his chips and Kudos bars for snacks, but he's slowly giving in to more healthy snacks :) HERE is a list of some of our favorite snacks.
I plan my weekly dinners from an excel spreadsheet that I've made of all our favorite meals. We have over 70 options so that I'm not making the same thing in the same month. However, I usually double the recipe whenever possible and freeze a meal for a busy day, so my family definitely receives some repetition. I also LOVE to try new recipes, so I deviate from my list every so often. But its worth it, because I'm constantly finding new favorites. My goal is to have the following each week: two dinners from the freezer that I made previously, two simple, healthy meals with fresh ingredients, try out one new recipe, CORN night (clean out the refrigerator night) and cook at least one recipe that doubles and freezes well to keep my freezer stocked. Some weeks I manage this and some weeks are crazy :) I have an ongoing list on my fridge that shows what meals I have already made in the freezer so that I don't forget about them. I also have an ongoing word document on my laptop filled with recipes that I want to try. When I am planning my menu for the week, I have all three of my lists before me so its quite simple to make a plan. HERE is a list of my recipes that freeze well.
Some of these meals are more expensive than others, so we definitely don't have them as often as the others. Not all of these meals are super healthy, but I am trying to gradually change them to use more whole foods and natural ingredients. This has been a gradual process for me due to lack of funds and time and most of these recipes haven't been converted to the healthy version yet :) We do try to have fruit with every meal and veggies at least at dinner.