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.

Getting Ready for Christmas

Going to a big family dinner? Spending a quiet day at home? Traveling across the country? Gathering with local single friends? No matter how you plan to spend Christmas, a little preparation will help make it better.

Before you get caught up in the holiday rush, stop and think about your priorities. What is most important this month? How will you show that in what you do? What is key and what is just nice if it works? Is this the year to simply post an Advent calendar for daily family use or the year that the whole family is coming to your house and you want to be ready to welcome them with a festive environment? Will you be traveling, so packing is a priority, or hosting, so meal planning is key? Will you be skipping the gifts and holiday shopping this year and simply resting in the gift of a Savior? Make a list (if you have several things) or post a visual reminder for yourself (if you want to really focus on one or two things) to help you stay on track.

Once you have that down, make a plan. Think about what it will take to fulfill your priority. If giving is key, make your Christmas list. If hosting is your jam, jot down some meal plans. If travel is on the calendar, nail down the timing, reservations, and packing list. If a quiet holiday is for you, prepare for the time of rest. Set yourself up for success rather than hoping everything will work out somehow. Brainstorm enough to be confident you have covered the big stuff.

Finally, block time in your calendar to work your plan. Mark out the path this month so that you know when you need to do what. It may not happen each time, but you will have placeholders and reminders to help you along the way. Adjust as needed and keep walking.

Once you’ve covered your bases, you can relax and enjoy the holiday season!