I am feeling excited for August, because our life finally settles down. Wow, July was busy. Good busy, but still exhausting. Now I am ready to start settling down, get back to a little bit of a routine and get back on track with my Weight Watchers journey!
A friend and I were chatting the other night and she brought up how she firmly believes in the 80/20 rule. If you are on track 80% of the time, you will have success. The problem for me in July was that I was barely following the 50/50 rule. Get. It. Together. Sandy.
Ok, so time to start following my own rules again and today I am going to talk about how I am simplifying meal planning for my family. I have still been meal planning, but very loosely and a lot of nights we would end up doing something else than what I planned. Today I am going to show you how I meal plan when I need it to be easy. This is a meal planning reset for me, but can be used every month of the year!
When I meal plan, you would never know that I have been cooking for almost 20 years. I sit down with my planner and pen and try to come up with 7 meals. You would think after cooking for so long 7 meals would be a piece of cake. Wrong. My mind goes blank! There are also times, I just get in a rut, I don't necessarily want to try new recipes. We are busy, I just want to get dinner on the table. This is when I switch to easy menu planning.
I give each day a meal or a theme and then I plug in meals from there. Right now I am working with the following schedule.
I make super easy chicken parmesan with breaded cutlets, pasta sauce and mozzarella. Pasta, vegetables or salad on the side. This is the perfect Sunday dinner for us, because it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare everything and everyone loves this meal!
Monday is going to be a busy day once school starts, so an easy dinner is a must. The sandwich theme gives me the option of BLT's, grilled cheeses or in a pinch Peanut butter and Jelly's! If I want to get creative one week, I can find a recipe for a new fun sandwich, but otherwise, I can keep it simple. Add raw veggies or fruit to the side for a complete meal.
Taco Tuesday! Family favorite. You can make tacos with ground beef, shredded chicken, shrimp, hard or soft tacos. Lots of variations, but always a taco on Tuesday!
Mike and I love lots of different sausages, chicken, kielbasa, etc. The kids don't always like them all, so sometimes when we make a spicy chicken sausage, I will throw in hot dogs for them. So Wednesdays, we will make sausage or hot dogs, with beans and raw veggies on the side.
Thursdays will be a simple chicken or fish on the grill. The meat can be marinated, prepped with a rub or grilled with a sauce added after. Served with rice or potato and grilled veggies on the side.
Friday is always pizza in our house. Busy Fridays we pick up pizza and other nights we make it. I need to get back into making it every week, because it is just a healthier option and we can all make a pizza that is exactly the way we like it! Pop it in the oven, start a movie and eat while we watch is our Friday tradition!
Everyone in the house loves cheeseburgers! This doesn't have to be just a beef burger, this could be veggie, turkey, chicken, whatever we feel like that week! Try new toppings each week and have raw veggies or fruit on the side!
As you can see, even though I am using the same schedule each week, I can vary most of the days so that we can eat something a little different each week, so we don't get bored. This kind of schedule makes it so easy for me to plan and I love it! We will use this plan for a few months and then I will switch up some of the days to fit our needs at the time. For instance, starting in November, we won't use the grill as often and will want some more comfort foods, like soups and chowders. During the school year we will often do a breakfast for dinner night.
I put together a list of as many as I could think of, for you to get started making your simple meal plan!
I am sure there are lots more, but this is what I came up with to get you started! This works great for my family, I hope you find it helpful for yours!