4 I’s to Meal Planning

One of the things I miss most about my cooking business is the fun of planning meals!  When I had the business it forced me to plan meals far in advance and even though I probably spent way too many hours sorting through my recipes and picking just the right combinations, I enjoyed it!

Life got way too busy last fall and I didn’t feel that I was putting enough effort into meal planning.  So this year, I’m going to try to be more intentional each week in planning.  I thought I’d share a few tips on how I meal plan.

1.  Input:  Ask for suggestions from the family.  If they are invested, the more likely they are to help and enjoy it.😊

2.  Inventory:  I look in the freezer and see what meats and veggies are already available.  I also look to the weekly sales ad.  Sale items can be inspiration to main or side dishes.  It’s also a great time to stockpile staples that are on sale.

3. Invest:  Write it down.  I know it sounds so simple but my written plans seem to have a better success rate than the ones floating around in my head. Pull recipes and create a grocery list of needed items.  Written plans also helps you work ahead.  (Thawing proteins, cutting vegetables ahead of time, etc.)

4.  Implement:  Get your ingredients, do as much prep ahead of time, and enjoy!  

My meal plan this week is pictured below.  I’ll walk you through my steps below👇🏻

1. Input:  My daughter wanted gumbo, my husband wanted fried catfish and my son shrugged his shoulders😒.

2.  Inventory:  I had some fish we had caught this summer, ground pork, chicken breast and steak in the freezer.  The sales ad had berries on sale, greens for $.99(lots of salads), frozen vegetables for $1(I’m almost out of frozen from the garden) and pork loin for $1.49/lb!  Our hog is getting processed and will soon have a freezer full but a sale like this is hard to pass up😬! 

3.  Invest:  I wrote out my plan, based on the suggestions and available products.  I made a grocery list of needed items in the layout of the store so I’m not circling aisles for a forgotten item.  My daughter has been sick, so the boys went to the grocery to pick up needed items.  I’m off work today so I put the meal with most clean up here, Fried catfish.  I’m at a conference Thursday and Friday so for Thursday night I’ll have everything loaded in the slow cooker before I leave for the hubs and kids.  

4.  Implement:  I have one day down, with plenty of leftovers for lunch today (and maybe tomorrow🤗).  But since I have a little extra time, I’m going to brown my ground pork for tomorrow’s nights spaghetti, wash all greens for use this week and wash and cut up fruits and veggies for snacks this week.

Hope you found this helpful!  Have a delicious week!

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