Friday, April 6, 2012

Once A Month Meal Planning

Be sure to "Like" me on Facebook to make sure you don't miss any of my Once A Month Series!

I don't know about you, but "Once a Month" stuff scares me to death!

I immediately think of people with 10+ kids, cooking a bunch of casseroles to stock their freezers. I think of a woman sweating all day in the kitchen cooking meal after meal. I think of spending a huge amount of money for a months supply of foods. I think of eating the same foods over and over again. Bleh!

Are some of these statements true? Yes. But that doesn't mean that this is what I have to do. I have figured out how to make it work for me... I'm going to share it with you and then your job is to take it and make it work for you, too.

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from this!
  • New mothers who can barely find a moment to lay their baby down, much less cook a meal. 
  • Or a mother of young children that is exhausted come dinner time. 
  • A mother with active kids involved in extracurricular activities.
  • Even a mother that wants to cut back her budget and provide healthy meals for her family, but is by no means a great cook or shopper.
  • Or just a woman that wants to spend less time at the store and in the kitchen and more time elsewhere!

So now that I have your attention... I'm going to tell you my way of doing things. And then you take it from there. Please feel free to share you suggestions as well!

Today we're going to start with Once A Month Meal Planning!

1st - If you don't meal plan at all, start HERE for a lot of great info, how to and pros & cons.

2nd - Instead of meal planning for the week do it for the whole month... Duh?! Right?

Here's how I do it and why:
  • Start by writing out all of my regular recipes. I grouped them into categories; Meatless, Crock pot, Mexican, Beef, Chicken, Random (i.e. hot dogs, fish sticks). This way you won't forget some or repeat too many.
  • At the beginning of the month I write out our calendar. This includes holidays, sports games, church & school activities, etc.
  • Then pull out my list of all my regular recipes and plug them into the calendar based on my schedule. 
  • I like to have my crock pot meals on nights when I know we'll be home late or leaving early and I won't have time to cook.
  • I make sure to have at least 1 mexican, meatless, beef, and chicken meal a week. This way it's more of a variety.
  • Always plan in leftovers, either for lunches or dinners.
  • I make sure to try and squeeze in at least one new meal a week. Right now we're normally home on Mondays, so I plan it for that night, since I won't be too pressed for time.
  • I try not to repeat any meals in the month.

TA DA!!! Wasn't that easy? It does take a little extra time at one time when planning the whole month, versus just one week at a time. But this way I can get it all done at one time and I don't have to think about it again for 4 weeks!

Be sure to review it at the beginning of every week, because you may want to swap out meals or schedules have changed. Stay flexible.  

The only thing left to do is shop! We'll talk about that next Friday!

How about you??? Do you ever meal plan for the month? Do you think you could benefit from doing this?

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  1. Great tips! I have been doing Once-A-Month Meal Planning for over a year now and just love it. I have also done Once-A-Month Cooking, which is wonderful because it just gets it all out of the way!

  2. Great advice. I have been dipping my toe in the Once a Month Meal planning. It is kind of overwhelming. I've always done it on a weekly thing, but I may try to start making an extra meal at least once a week to put into the freezer, so that in case someone is in need of a meal I will have something. Maybe I'll get brave and do a whole month soon :)

  3. Tykes Mom - I'm slowly getting my feet wet with once a month cooking. I'm actually writing on about it this Friday! I'll have to check out your posts!

    Alecia - I think it's best to start slow and make it work for you!

  4. Awesome encouragement to meal plan. I don't know that I've ever actually planned an entire month's worth before. I love how you try to include variety in your week because I do that too, and I always make room for leftovers, lol!

    Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  5. EXCELLENT guide to once a month planning! I'm amazed at how you don't repeat any meals in the same month? Any tips? I have two meals the same every week! I would love your help in this area! Thanks for sharing on Unwasted Homemaking, please link up again on Monday I'm very interested in your shopping ideas for once a month planning!

  6. Marcie - I plan on posting ALL my meals and how I plan them out! I'll make sure to link it up with your site! Thanks! :)

  7. Great, this would help me tremendously in my kitchen :)!