I have come up with a menu planning system that works for me.
I have always been a planner, so I used to plan our meals every time I went grocery shopping. Then, as life got busier, I became even more of a planner and started planning whole months in advance. It was just easier to sit down once for 30 minutes a month and fill in a calendar with meal ideas. I then keep the calendars and then recycle meals down the road – sometimes I even recycle weeks at a time.
Of course, I assume that there will be lots of changes in the calendar (and there always are) but it works for me. I then make my grocery list weekly from the list and write our menu for about the next two weeks on our blackboard in the kitchen.
There are some major pluses to this crazy system:
I never have to hear “What’s for dinner?” as everyone knows to check the blackboard.
I have ammunition when one child starts whining about how we “always have this” or “we never have what I like”. In fact, Zach tried that once. “You never make anything good. You always make this stuff. I don’t like it”. “Really?” I said. I then proceeded to pull out my “calendar(s) of meals” and started to run through the list: “On February 15th we had XYZ. You like that? On February 16th, we had ABC. You like that?….On March 5th, we had XXY. You like that”. You get the point. And so did he. I went through about 10 meals before he said “OK,OK I get it. I like most things you make. Just not this one”. So now, I don’t have to hear how we always have something someone doesn’t like. They know I’ll just pull out the calendars. It actually has become a big joke in our house!
I never have to think on the spot after a busy day.
We actually get a good variety of things because I’m conscious about how often we are eating something!
There are some exceptions. Sometimes I get bored or lazy and run out of steam when planning the month. Then I see we are going on vacation – so somehow I think that the week before I don’t have to plan anything. I guess I figure it will somehow get taken care of.
So this week, the blackboard was blank. The boys asked “What’s for dinner”? I couldn’t even respond “Check the blackboard”. I had no real answer. I suppose I somehow had to feed them. So, I simply said to them: “I’m tired of dealing with dinner. I thought it was your turn to deal with it this week”.
They started to protest. Then they stopped protesting (a small miracle) and left the room.
They returned and responded, “Ok – check the blackboard”.
This is what I found:
Love it. Pretty darn funny.