If you don’t plan a weekly menu in advance, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot! Initially, it may take you 30-45 minutes to set-up a meal plan for the week. But in my opinion, that’s so much better than spending 15-30 minutes each day at 4:45pm or later trying to figure out what to cook!
Our menu is usually pretty straightforward, nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary. I do love experimenting and trying new recipes, but it’s not something I do every week. My oldest isn’t picky, but does have allergies that I have to accommodate. My youngest IS picky and would live off of blueberry kefir, hummus and guacamole if he could. My husband will try anything I make and he never complains. But one thing I have learned about him in our 11 years together – if I’m calling it “dinner”, then there needs to be some kind of meat involved, otherwise, it’s just a snack!
When you sit down to start planning your weekly meal plan, keep in mind 3 main things:
1) your family’s diet (allergies) and preferences. In our house, this means that our menu doesn’t include any nuts, eggs, shellfish & sesame. And my family doesn’t like casseroles.
2) whatever fruit and vegetables are seasonal and affordable (on sale). I shop for produce a variety of places: Aldi, Walmart, Harris Teeter, and Trader Joe’s. At some point in my life, I really hope to get to the farmer’s market again, but for right now, I can find good quality produce (sometimes organic and sometimes local) at great prices at the stores above
3) each day’s activities and events. On our busiest days, I chose freezer or crockpot meals. And on days that I know my husband won’t be working late, we grill out.