Meal Plan Week 4 & Why My Meal Plan Begins on Friday

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I struggled for quite a number of months to get into the flow of meal planning. I found that whichever website I was turning to for tips and inspiration, I wasn’t happy with the printables, although I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

Some ways in, it hit me – my week starts on Friday, not Sunday as for so many within the world of meal planning. I generally do a once per week grocery shopping trip on Thursday. Before I can sit down and plan meals for the week, I need to know whether we’re home alone for Shabbos, having ten people over for the meal, or we’re invited out. Since the bulk of my week’s cooking is done for Shabbos, with the most effort being put into making these meals special, I need to set out their structure before I can plan forward into the rest of the week.

Once I started beginning my week on Friday, things began to flow for me. I sit down on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning to plan my Shabbos meals, and then have some idea of whether there will be leftovers stretching into the week or not. I know how many meat or dairy meals I was to serve during the remainder of the week, and most important to me, I have the closure of Shabbos not just hanging as an unknown, but rather as an intentional, integral part of my meal planning.

Meal Plan Week 4

Friday Night: Challah, chicken soup, gefilte fish, green beans, beets, couscous, oatmeal craisin cookies

Shabbos Lunch: Challah, gefilte fish, cholent, green beans, roasted potatoes, cauliflower popcorn, oatmeal craisin cookies, cantaloupe

Sunday: Shabbos leftovers

Monday: Mexican black bean soup, french toast

Tuesday: Tomato feta pasta and sliced veggies

Wednesday: Mexican black bean soup

Thursday: Tomato feta pasta and sliced veggies

What day does your meal planning week begin on, and why have you chosen such a structure? Please share in the comments below!

Meal Plan Week 3

As a mom who’s only recently begun meal planning, I know that consistency is my biggest challenge. Building meal planning into a habit is one of my curent goals and I’m doing my beset to stick with it. While last week I was away and thus didn’t have the opportunity or perhaps the need to plan, I did come back thinking a great way to work on continuation would be to build accountability for myself. So here it is. The (hopeful) plan is that I’ll be posting my meal plans on a weekly basis. Feel free to grab ideas, comment, or ask for recipes. We all seek inspiration in the kitchen, and I hope this offers you some. Enjoy!

A note on leftovers. Cooking for a relatively small family, and being someone who tends to overshoot quantity (better have too much rather than too little!) we eat plenty of leftovers. To keep monotony at bay, I do try to change things up from meal to meal, or I’ll serve dairy one night and meat the next. So long as the food is good, we’re good with it!

Eggplant parm

Shabbos – out both meals! :)

Sunday – Homemade mac & cheese + veggie julienne salad

Monday – Homemade mac & cheese + eggplant parmesan + veggie julienne salad

Tuesday – Tomato soup + whole wheat biscuits

Wednesday – Homemade mushroom stuffed hamburgers on whole wheat bread + toppings

Thursday – Pancakes + cottage cheese + fresh cut veggies

What are you making for dinner this week? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Why I Love Meal Planning

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Life with kids is busy, to say the least. What if there was one small change we could all make to simplify our lives?

Meal planning.

I discovered (ok, committed to) meal planning only over the past few months. Before that I would see food bloggers speaking of the benefits over and over, but couldn’t see myself doing the same. I liked walking through the grocery store and buying what looked fresh and appealing. I didn’t want my creativity to be stifled by having to follow a meal plan each night. I made menus for yomim tovim and for Shabbos, but never for weekday meals.

This method of non-structured meal prep allowed me to make decisions on a whim, cooking whatever I was in the mood for each night based on staple ingredients I’d keep at home – or run out for shortly before – with my little guy in tow. I was wasting produce that I couldn’t use up during the week, always feeling bad for tossing them.

Recently I took the plunge and committed to meal planning. The end result?

Structure = Less Stress – My menu is stuck to the refrigerator at the beginning of each week, so I know exactly what’s going to be happening, and when. I can then go on autopilot without having to stress out each day at the 4:00 crunch thinking “what should I make today?”

Time Management – When planning my menu, I’m able to see what preparatory tasks can be taken care of the night before. If I know that one day is going to busier and I need a throw together meal, I can chop veggies the night before, or even just take out the dry ingredients and have them ready on the counter so that meal prep runs like clockwork.

Less Wasted Food and Money – Meal planning allows us to take stock of our ingredients before meal planning. Once we know what we have on hand, we know what we don’t need to buy, and can avoid doubling up on perishable ingredients. Structured planning also allows us to pointedly make use of ingredients that may be on their way out, by planning to toss them into a soup or stew where the difference goes unnoticed.

Quicker Shopping Trips – I do a big shop once a week. That’s it. So I know that I ave to have all necessary ingredients on hand in order to follow my plan. Once my meal plan is set for the week, I’m able to create accurate lists, with the number of each food item I’ll need to buy, because i know how many times I’ll cook with it throughout the week. I then divide these up appropriately into the few stores that I hit during my shopping trip.

Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail – I now know the difference meal planning has made in my life. I’m less stressed, more organized, and feel good about how much less I’m wasting on a weekly basis. I’m hoping to put up my weekly meal plans going forth, to share with you some Ideas that will inspire you to get on the bandwagon and come meal plan with me.

Dinner menu for this week:

Fri night – Soup, gefilte fish, beets, green beans, roasted potatoes, roasted mushrooms, fruit salad, healthy rice krispy treats

Seuda Shlishis – G-fish, green beans, roasted potatoes, roasted mushrooms, fruit salad

Sun – G-fish, beets, green beans, roasted potatoes and mushrooms from Shabbos

Mon – Tomato zucchini meatball soup, fruit salad

Tues – Chickpea feta salad with whole wheat biscuits, melon

Wed – Tomato zucchini meatball soup, melon

Thurs – pancakes, cottage cheese, fresh veggies, fruit