Knock, knock...is anyone here?? I took a long hiatus from blogging as we transitioned into life with the boys at two different schools (one in Middle School and one in Elementary), multiple sports and activities, and a new job for my husband. Add to that, my boys both hit that growth phase where I had to spend some time adjusting to their appetites! Wow...growing boys sure can EAT!
It feels like we are finally settling into a rhythm (a chaotic rhythm at times), but a rhythm nonetheless. Over the past few months I've had several conversations with friends and fellow parents about the topic of food and it has really inspired me to get back to writing here on the blog. It seems there are a lot of us out there who struggle with how to fuel our kids with nutritious foods in a real and practical way.
Note the last few words I typed there..."REAL and PRACTICAL". If you've been following my blog for a while you might remember the cute, little lunches I packed for my boys. Well, my little boys aren't so little anymore so anything "cute" and "little" when it comes to food just doesn't cut it these days. With the increasing demands on our schedules with sports & other activities I've had to work hard to find practical ways to fuel their bodies with real food.
I'm excited to share recipes, kitchen tips & tricks, snack ideas, and other random things that are working well for us in this phase of life. You can also expect some posts about books we're reading and our travel adventures. I'm always open to ideas so if any of you are reading this and you have questions, ideas, suggestions, etc... please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment here on the blog. I'd love to hear from you!
Now for today's topic! MEAL PLANNING!!!! This is something I have struggled with for years...especially as the boys got more and more involved with sports. No matter what strategy I tried, I found myself almost always scrambling at the dinner hour.
This summer I spent some time organizing a system and we're nearly two months into the school year and I'm thrilled to say that so far this strategy is working! Below is an overview of how I'm planning our meals along with some FREE meal plan printables.
1) Schedule Dinner Themes
One of my biggest challenges with planning meals is that I get overwhelmed with all the options. By scheduling theme nights, it gives me some parameters when I sit down to plan out our meals for the week. I decided on the following theme nights for our family: Sunday Steak Night, Meatless Monday, Chicken or Seafood Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday, Beef Thursday, and Soupy Saturday.
Here's a list of theme ideas to consider: (You can download this as a printable HERE.)
2) Gather Recipes for Each Category
I'm finding that organization is key when it comes to meal planning. One of the most helpful things I've done for myself is to create Pinterest boards for each "dinner theme". For examples, I have Pinterest Boards titled "Breakfast for Dinner", "Chicken Recipes", "Steak Night", etc... I pin my tried and true recipes onto my boards along with anything other recipes I think my family would enjoy. This makes it easy for me when planning out our menu for the week and it also makes it convenient for storing recipes.
3) Make a Weekly Menu
I generally like to plan my weekly menu on Saturdays. That gives me time on the weekend to grocery shop and gather any ingredients I'll need for the rest of the week. I've found that I like writing out my menu (including the main dishes and sides) on the same page as my grocery list. You can download my Weekly Menu Printable FREE here.
5) Prep Ahead
Once I have my menu and purchased my groceries I like to prep ahead as much as possible. Anything I can do ahead like chopping fruit, vegetables, frying hamburger, etc...helps make things a little more efficient when I'm throwing meals together during the week.
I hope this is helpful for anyone else out there who is struggling with meal planning!