When my grandmother immigrated from Germany in the early 1920’s her first job was a cook in a house just outside NYC. As the family cook she planned, purchased and cooked every meal everyday. Growing up I didn’t find this to be a particularly grand feat but, when I had a family of my own I realized how crazy meal planning can be. I struggled, until one day I said to myself ” easy modern mom you need to get it together your easy modern family wants to eat EVERY day.” So I put on my modern thinking cap and went to work.
I started by making a list.
1.What are our staple foods? ( things for the kids lunches and breakfasts)
2. Where should I look for recipes?
3. What is important? Quick, easy, healthy, budget friendly
And with these things in mind I set to work. I decided that I could really simplify things if I made some staple meals. For example for breakfast we would always have some combination of the same foods. Lunch the same, and dinner would rotate depending on what I found that week. Ok so here we go…
some type of eggs ( scrambled, fried, omelet, hard boiled) or oatmeal if its cold.
fruit ( whatever is in season)
smoothie ( frozen fruit, greek yogurt and almond milk)
Lunch ( this is easy most of the time since modern Dad and modern older brother always buy their lunch)
bread (both kinds)
some kind of chips
veggie ( usually baby carrots)
some kind of cookies
Dinner (on rotation)
So here is where the real work began. I thought about the websites where I always find no miss, easy, budget friendly recipes. Here are my favorites:
I then further narrowed down my recipe search by limiting it only to recipes that have about 6 or 7 ingredients, no fancy things that I don’t normally have on hand, and are gluten free.
I also realized that I don’t need to cook every night. I can cook one meal and we can have the left overs the next day. So we only need three meals a week. This allows for a crazy day when we don’t have any time to make anything and we end up either going out, making breakfast for diner or having sandwiches.
And how did I solve the problem of not knowing what recipes I had bought ingredients for? I hung a notepad on the refrigerator listing the meals for the week, the name of the recipe, and the website where I found the recipe. As I make dinner each night I simply cross off the meal.
Whew, when does this get easy? Well, now that I have my templet all I do is follow it every week.
Breakfast – staples
Diner – 3 dinners look at notepad for recipes and ingredients.
I have further simplified things by shopping on Amazon Fresh. It saves my weekly purchases so all I need to do is add my staples to the cart and add the ingredients for whatever dinners I am making that week. If you have a grocery delivery service available to you I would highly recommend it. There is a convince fee associated with it but you are spared all those impulse purchases you make when you go to the grocery store. In the end I find I actually save money.
easy modern meal planning
What is your favorite meal planning tip?