Super Simple Meal Planning

Would you love a month of beautifully drafted, delicious, and easy meals for your family? Are you actually scrambling to make one or two a week, always at the last-minute and in desperation?

If you are overwhelmed with meal planning, this post is for you.

Sometimes, to be successful, we need to go back to the basics and start over. Strip away all the extras and simplify.

  • Pick three meals that are easiest for you to make. If 20 minutes or less is best, pick three that are quick prep. If the slow cooker is your best friend, work with it. If you aren’t sure between some favorites, pick the one that has the fewest ingredients or is easiest.
  • Make a list of the ingredients you need on hand. This will be your base grocery list for a while. Check stock before you head to the store and get more of what has been used on the list. Then you will have what you need on hand.
  • Keep this list and the three recipes handy or post them in your kitchen for reference.
  • Cycle your way through the three meals. When it’s time to think dinner, you are making the next one on the list (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3…).

This process assumes that there will still be some days with drive-thru or pizza menus, but the daily planning is already done on the days you eat at home. Cycling through three meals gives some variety, but keeps it simple enough to manage until you are ready to tackle more.

If you are ready for change in a month or two, but not ready to ramp up, you can start over. Switch up one meal or all three, make a new grocery list, and carry on. If simple works for a longer season at this stage in life, stay with what works.

When you are ready, you can add one more meal. When you don’t hate your kitchen anymore, you can start experimenting or expanding the meal plans.

But for now, cut out as much stress as you can and go back to super simple.

Where Does It Belong?

God is the Creator of order. Scientists spend careers looking at the wonders of His organization and design. When we reflect a small amount of that orderliness in our lives, we are reflecting His character in a beautiful way.

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention…” applies here. It takes time to set yourself up for success in any area, but the time you save down the road is greater. If you have your linen closet set up so that everything has a place and (most) everything is in its place, in the long run you save hours of searching and folding and unfolding and snapping in frustration and searching all over the house. If your kitchen is ordered so that you can easily use it, you will not avoid hospitality because of the nightmare that you have every time you prepare a meal.

All that to say, putting things where they belong is crucial in avoiding chaos in life and home.

  • Set up a habit of only ever putting the car keys in one of two places saves headaches and frustrating searches. It takes self-discipline to set up the habit, but it pays off over and over and over.
  • If tools go back on the assigned shelf after they are used, they are ready for use again. A project won’t require search time just to get started.
  • Groceries are put away in the right cupboard, not just wherever they fit. It will be a lot easier to know what is there and what needs to be re-stocked.
  • Bills placed in the stack or cubby to be paid are much more likely to be paid then those scattered all over the house and car. Your credit record and utility providers will be happy, and your bank account will not have to suffer from those pesky late fees.

Again, this idea is something that has to be built into a habit. It’s hard, but it’s worth it once you put in the work. Set yourself up for smooth success. Put things where they belong.