Ah yes, Sunday – the ultimate day for both meal planning and prepping for the week ahead with our home menu board ideas.
Heads up: When I first started menu planning, I used these handy sheets:
I tried my hand at health coaching a few years back and, let me tell you, meal planning can be SERIOUS business. To track purple containers or how many carbs an item has, you have to be on top of your game. You need to have a constant plan in place for your meals/snacks/what-have-you, so you can be successful with your goals – instead of simply relying on whatever is close at hand. I get that.
While I’m not too focused on carbs or calories (at the moment), I am very interested in our food and financial waste. When we don’t plan, we just lose control. I grab whatever I want at the store – and then realize I missed complete sections of the not-at-all-thought-out-meal. For example, “Oh hey, tacos sound awesome! I’ll pick up some ground turkey!” …and then I get home and go to make dinner and realize I don’t have tortillas. #epicfail
So, we started looking at home menu board ideas: a full seven dinners scheduled for the week ahead.
PS: Your kids can help plan the meals, if you’re looking for helpers! Just be sure to show them the steps below, then you can make it part of their household responsibilities.
Every day of the week has a spot for dinner – and that’s it!
You can have a home menu board that uses notecards (like ours), or one that has a dry erase or chalkboard component.
Every Saturday night, you make a plan for the seven dinners ahead and fill out the grocery list. Then, you’re ready for the meal prepping and planning that Sunday may bring.
If I know a night is going to be hectic with after school activities or something similar, I’ll slide in a quick and easy recipe. If a girlfriend calls up for a dinner date, I can easily shift meals around to accommodate the change in schedule.
We also only plan dinner each day, so the rest of our choices stay a bit more flexible. It’s like a kitchen menu planner! For example, if I know meatloaf is on the menu for dinner, I might pick something lighter for lunch.
The menu board in our home is particularly special, because it was made with LOVE at Port Saint Lucie’s AR Workshop. You can make a project of your own!
© AR Workshop Port Saint Lucie
If you don’t have access to an AR Workshop, you can grab any of these similar options on Amazon:
To make life super easy, I like to keep two stacks of notecards behind the menu board right in the kitchen: the first stack is all of our favorite, tried-and-true recipes. (This is my very BEST trick for “meal planning”! Just shuffle through your stack of family favorites and plop them into place on your menu board. Once all of the cards are in place, you are ready for the grocery store!)
The second stack is simply empty notecards that are ready for new things to try. These could include recipes you find online, in a cookbook, or from a friend – or even a specific restaurant for a takeout order or a night on the town! When you have a “splurge” pre-scheduled on the menu board, you’re more likely to stick to the plan.
After my week is set and scheduled, I double check the fridge/freezer/pantry to see which recipe components are already hiding around the house. (I mean, you never know what you might find!)
Anything else we need is quickly added to a list in the kitchen – and off I go to Publix!
Planning our meals this way has helped a TON in the past six months.
My family knows exactly what is coming up – and I have an excellent resource to guarantee we are consistently switching up our meals.
AND! Our menu board has added a little piece of art to the kitchen as well!
Katie Johansen is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with her M.A.Ed in Children’s Literature. She spent 6 years as an elementary school teacher in South Florida before transitioning to stay-at-home #momlife. Now, it’s all things PB&J – with an extra large cup of coffee on the side.