Time Management - Meal Planning

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Summer is upon us and with it comes the freedom to travel, take long walks, visit the beach, and grill almost every meal. But before you know it the school year will arrive once again and it will be time to put a schedule in place. Next to getting laundry done, one of the hardest things to schedule seems to be meal preparation. How many times have you looked at the clock only to realize it's 4:30 pm and you have nothing defrosted for dinner?!

Here's a simple approach to meal planning that has worked well for me for years.

Divide up the week into 7 categories ... something like this:

  • Monday - Chicken dish
  • Tuesday - Pasta
  • Wednesday - Beef dish
  • Thursday - Casserole
  • Friday - Pizza Night
  • Saturday - Left-Overs
  • Sunday - Crockpot Meal

Next, purchase an index card file or box to hold a series of 3x5" cards. Divide them into six categories:

  • Chicken Recipes
  • Pasta Recipes
  • Beef Recipes
  • Casserole Recipes
  • Pizza Recipes
  • Crockpot Recipes

Copy your favorite recipes for each category onto a 3x5" card. Then file appropriately.

Each time you prepare to go grocery shopping (I happen to shop twice a month), pull out one recipe per day from the appropriate category. Then base your grocery shopping list on what you know you will be cooking.

Your categories will vary based on your family needs. As our children got old enough to work in the kitchen, they became responsible for meal planning and preparation and this plan was helpful as they took on this new responsibility.

Take some time this summer to create your own meal planning recipe box. Check out my recipe blog for some new meal ideas. Share some of your favorites here!


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