Meal Planning Game Changer

After being seriously inspired by a couple of friends, I launched our family on a 4 week meal rotation. Meal planning has been my jam for the last several years, but I started to dread the Monday morning plan-making I had to do every week. I firmly believe in meal planning (<—start here if meal planning mystifies you), It saves me time and money in the long run, so I didn’t want to ditch it entirely.

That said, I was spending too much time reinventing the wheel each week. We tended toward the same easy-to-make weekday meals and we almost always made pizza on Friday nights. So why not systematize it? My type-A soul loves a good system.The hope is I don’t have to meal plan on a weekly basis again, and when we get to the end of these 4 weeks, we’ll be able to start over again and it will work. We’re two weeks in, and so far so good, friends.

Recipe(Recipe cards are Gwen Frostic)

Here’s how I picked our meals:

  • I planned 6 dinners for each week, and assumed that the 7th night will be us going out, hanging with friends, eating leftovers, or getting takeout.
  • One of the meals each week is a slow cooker meal because I get home really late.
  • These meals are all dishes I’m already familiar with. I know we like to eat them, and I know they fit easily into our budget. Picking 24 (or however many) new recipes and attempting this plan will be a disaster. Don’t do it. Start with what you know and go from there.
  • I’ll rotate meals out and add new ones as I find them. If I find a fun new recipe, I’ll build it into a weekend when I have extra time to cook.
  • This plan will definitely ebb and flow with the seasons! The 4 week plan you see below is more of a fall and winter plan. Come summer, we grill much more and like to cook based on what’s in the garden or in season at the farm stand.

Here’s what we’re eating:

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

What do you think?

Would you try a meal rotation like this? Do you have any go to recipes that you make regularly or recommendations for a dinner I should try?


In case you missed it….meal planning step by step and the easiest bread recipe

4 thoughts on “Meal Planning Game Changer

  1. It works. It helps. It simplifies. I still have my recipe cards of weekly menu items with the page & name of the cookbook! (Yes, the olden days 😀)
    Think about trying a Meal swap with a friend or two. Fun. New recipes. Time together swapping. 10+ years… worthwhile. I have meal by the week and month plans, how to suggestions, rating meals etc. Good job!!!!

  2. Game changer! Love the rotation & recipe swapping ideas. Something that works for me is buying extra of a few key items (i.e. meat, veggies, rice) then using them in different meals. “Theming” half the meals around those few items. Then I’m not buying as many different items (usually cheaper buying in bulk too) & I make the meals different enough so I don’t feel like we’re eating the same thing all week either.

    • The theming idea so great! I kind of do that, but should probably look at my plan to see if I can do more of it. Because when it works, it’s awesome!

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