My menu plan pretty much crashed and burned the past few months. We moved, and I lost my groove.
I told you several months ago how a solid menu plan is the backbone of your day. Well, let me tell you, having mine fall apart made this beyond clear! Without this “backbone”, I had one seriously loosey-goosey day, that turned into a week, that turned into a month plus! It was a mess!
Sadly, this isn’t the first time my menu plan has fallen apart. Every time we have some major life event, it seems my menu plan is the first thing to take a nosedive. However, I’ve learned a few tricks for getting things back on track quickly, and today, I’d like to share those with you (cuz I’m guessing I’m not the only one with a messy meal plan. 😉 )
The first thing I did was go back to a pantry list. I already had an old one on hand from my Once a Month Shopping series. I had to do some revamping to make it fit our current eating habits, but that didn’t take much.
Simplified Dinners is an ebook that operates off this same principle, only it takes it a step further and gives you a pantry full of foods that will make many different meals all from the same list. All the recipes and instructions and lists are included in the book, making it a no-brainer (precisely what you need when your meal plan has fallen through, eh?) Working from a pantry list is one of the quickest ways to get back on track without needing to think too much. It bought me time I needed to keep working on unpacking the house and getting back in a routine.
A couple of weeks later, I had more time to think through meals, so I pulled out my planner pages and my little red index box full of tried and true recipes. Everyone needs the equivalent of my red index box. You should KNOW what meals are family favorites. You should KNOW what your family will and will not eat and how often they will eat it. These are your GO-TO meals. Pulling from tried and true meals to create a meal plan takes a little more energy than a static pantry list where you just cook from whatever you have on hand, but it would be beneficial to eventually create a pantry list around your tried and true meals. (When your meal plan has fallen apart may not be that time, though.)
I’ll be honest, during this time, Pinterest was calling my name. It wanted me to come and try NEW recipes, but when you’ve fallen off track as badly as I had, experimenting from Pinterest is NOT the answer. I needed to get back to business first…then, get creative.
It wasn’t too long before I was back to my regular menu planning, pulling from several different resources and being much more creative! I have found that one of the fastest ways to get me back in the meal planning mood (because let’s face it, you HAVE to be in the mood), is to find inspiration from others. Looking through websites, cookbooks, and ebooks are a great way to find your inspiration to jump back into meal planning.
This past week, I decided to start being even more proactive with my meal plan. I decided to make a 4 week rotating schedule with grocery lists on the back to keep on hand for times when my menu plan falls apart. This coupled with a solid pantry list should help to keep everyone in the house on track and eating well!