Now that you have decluttered and organized your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, it’s time to use up what you have stored by meal planning. If you have a master meal planning list, grab it because you will need it to plan what you will be eating for the next 14 days! If you don’t have a master meal planning list, here are some tips on making one:
- Grab and notepad and pen and make a separate page for each of these categories: breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, and desserts.
- Jot down what your family likes to eat under the proper categories. Be as specific as possible so you have many different options. For example, instead of putting “muffins” under breakfast, I’ll list blueberry muffins, cinnamon streusel muffins, banana muffins, etc.
- Once that is done, get a new piece of paper. This is how I fill out my 2 week plan. You can copy this or do it however you want. The main thing is you will need a plan!
- Check your calendar and see if there are any meals that you will not be cooking. If you have a family supper or are will be gone make sure to jot that down first. Then you will know exactly how many meals you need.
- Here is where your inventory lists and your meal plan lists come into play. I start with breakfast because those are the easiest to plan for my family. If you have 5 boxes of cereal, your family will be eating a lot of cereal during this challenge and add a few days of cereal to your menu plan. If you have pancake mix or frozen waffles, add those onto your Menu plan.
- I move to supper next. I do this instead of lunch because it is a big meal and if there are leftovers, I can put those on the list for lunch. If you have 2 bags of chicken breasts in your freezer (and you will know this because you completed the freezer inventory), many of your main meals should include chicken. Chicken noodle soup, baked chicken breasts, and chicken enchiladas are examples of meals you could make with that. Glance at your meal plan list and add those type of dishes. We are farmers and are blessed to have our own beef so many of meals include that. I also have an abundance of chicken in the freezer right now so I’m trying to be a little diversified in our meats.
- Remember the goal is to make meals based on what you have already. Allrecipes has a function where you can put in your ingredients and it will generate some ideas for you if you need a little extra help. Pinterest is also a great resource for finding new recipes.
- Continue filling out your 2 week list with lunches and snacks. Remember to account for side items to your meals so you aren’t having to make a mad dash to the store!
- If you come across a recipe that you have everything but 1 ingredient, the challenge doesn’t start until tomorrow! Make your grocery list as you are planning so you can pick up your last minute shopping later today.
- Post this list on your refrigerator. If you have it in front of you, you will be more likely to follow it! Don’t worry about if you actually follow the days in order that you wrote them down, just make a check mark next to that meal as you cook it and keep following your list.
I’d love for you to comment one meal you are planning to make that you found from your items in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. It might help someone who is stuck with planning theirs!