I have been using a six-week meal rotation for a few months now and I cannot describe how much time and energy it has saved in the dreaded meal planning endeavor we all must take part in. I have tried to find the balance between the simplicity of repeated meals and not having the same thing all the time.
Before I did this, I implemented some things for several months that helped me get to this place including:
- living on a budget with a set amount to spend on groceries every week.
- meal planning for months tweaking the hows and whens of planning, shopping, and cooking.
- trying different doable, frugal meals with my family to figure what works for all of us – me as the shopper and cook, fill up my husband, and that my kids will eat (I don’t do short orders).
- getting to the place in my family (ie: when the twins started eating table food) where I needed to plan all three meals to ensure I had a plan and enough of something to feed them all.
Even with all that routine and practice, the task of planning exactly what to cook every week still loomed over my head. So here are the steps I took to write a six-week rotation of meals.
- I made a list of dinners that we have on a weekly basis. breakfast for dinner on Thursdays, pizza on Fridays, soup & sandwiches for Sunday lunch, and Popcorn Fiesta on Sunday nights. (I try to keep things simple on Sundays. We have enough going on with getting back and forth to church and we really do aim to have family rest.)
- I found a few different lunch meals that I could rotate – different versions of mac & cheese (here and here), pb&j, pizza pockets, ham & cheese rollups, quesadillas.
- I selected a few different breakfast meals that I could rotate – cereal, pancakes, waffles, baked oatmeal, muffins, baked egg cups.
- For Saturdays, I planned leftovers for lunch and thought of a few different ideas for dinner – grilled wings, hot dogs, sandwiches, or out to eat at one of our favorite kid-friendly restaurants.