Easy Meal Planning Ideas And Tips
Here are some easy meal planning ideas and tips to help you get past the mental block about meal planning. Meal planning is really not difficult and I hope to equip you with some tools so you can confidently and efficiently plan your family’s meals!
I have discussed many ideas before and so in some places I link to other articles where I gave more detail about some meal planning ideas and tips. If you have time, check them out, too!
Why is it so hard to prepare and plan meals?
- We try too hard and make meal planning more complicated than it needs to be.
We think we need to use new gourmet recipes for every meal. We think that our families want something different for each family dinner when the reality is most of the time our families are happy eating just the good old comfort foods they love.
- We are just too tired to think about what to cook.
One thing I did that helped me was to keep a notebook for three weeks and, at the end of each meal, I wrote down what we had for dinner that night. I know this is the opposite of what we are normally told when getting menu ideas.
People usually advise us to write our meal plans before the meal rather than afterward. This is true, but writing things down after a meal worked for me at that time. This was a great way to figure out what kinds of menus we were already eating. If you are having trouble making menus ahead of time, you might try doing it this way.
Even if you go out to eat, write down everything that was served. This takes all of one to two minutes to do, especially if you keep your notebook handy. In three weeks you will have almost 21 menu ideas to choose from. I used my 21 menus for years on the days I was stumped about what to have for dinner.
Make things easy for yourself and keep your meals simple.
Here are a few quick and easy meal plans to give you some ideas for this week. You can use them now or when you need to use up some of your leftover Easter or Christmas ham. You can serve the ham warmed, cold, fried or cubed. It is your choice. Here are some dishes to go with it:
- Ham, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Salad
- Ham, Rice, Fried Pineapple Rings, Tossed Salad
- Ham, Potato Salad, Relish Dish with Dill Pickles
- Ham, Baked Beans, Baked Potatoes, Carrot Sticks
- Ham, Fried Eggs, Hash Browns, Orange Juice
- Ham, Boiled Potatoes, Applesauce, Green Beans, Corn Bread or Muffins
You can add and take away from all of these meal planning ideas or mix and match items. Here are some things you might try:
- Replace ham with chicken or another meat.
- Add a salad or dinner roll
- Add a dessert
You could easily stretch this to 10-15 easy meal plans by just switching things around.
I would look at my notebook and think, “I don’t have ham but I do have chicken. I could boil some rice and make green beans, corn bread and applesauce. This would give me a totally different menu just by using these basics.
These meal plans should be a jumping off point to help get you started thinking. I hope this gives you new cooks and not so new cooks some ideas for dinner this week!
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