Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Meal Planning - the low tech version

This is a system I've been using off and on for years.  Yep, it's just what you see.  I print a calendar page and hang it on my fridge.  I then poll everyone here (and page through cookbooks) for meal ideas.  It works well when I have the discipline to actually do it, but I suppose that's the downfall for pretty much any system.  The parts I like best are:
  • It's very flexible.  I always write in pencil so it's easy to erase something I know won't work on a particular day and just bump it forward a few days.
  • It's visible.  If I'm not the one home when it's time to cook, any of the other responsible cooks in my house can easily take over. Also, I can easily glance at it in the morning and do prep work in advance if I want.
  • I know I save money and waste less food when I do it.  Also, shopping takes less time, especially when I use my organized list.
Also, I have lots of cookbooks and have found it helpful to focus on one at a time.  Rather than being overwhelmed by thousands of choices, I've narrowed it down to the more manageable number in a particular cookbook.  It's much easier to write Chicken and Rice, p. 109 on my calendar square than to list all the info from a wide variety of sources that will help me find recipes again when I'm ready to make them.

I typically find that planning 5 meals per week is more than enough.  We are fine with leftovers occasionally, and it's not uncommon for most or all of us to be gone for work or appointments every now and then.

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