The #1 most common question I get is how to meal plan with traditional foods. But, important caveat — without spending a lot of time on it or spending a ton of money on fancy foods.
In fact, because it's such a universal need, I started including weekly menu plans with our Traditional Cooking School membership in 2010. (We are currently on #222… yes, 222 weeks of helping you with this!)
Whether or not you get our done-for-you menu plans, you can come up with meal planning that works for you and your family in 4 simple steps. You'll hear all about them in today's podcast — and they're summarized below.
These are the same tips I share with members every month when I give Traditional Food Makeovers at our monthly meetings. (It's a perk of being a member!)
Also in today's podcast… the tip of the week!
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Tip of the Week: Make Your Own Nut Bag
4 Steps to Easy Meal Planning
Of course, listen in on today's podcast for the full details! Here's a quick summary of the 4 steps.
1. Make a list of your family's favorite meals that work with your lifestyle and budget.
Be sure to consider “breakfast for dinner”, crockpot meals, and past meals in our menu plans.
Aim for 7 to 14.
2. Create a rotating schedule of the favorite meals.
The number of meals you can pull from will help you determine how long this schedule can go — like for 1 week, 2 weeks, or a month.
Factor in “leftover nights” or nights you plan to eat elsewhere. Remember to scale up recipe quantities if you want to be able to serve them for another meal (like leftovers for lunch the next day).
You're going to put those meals into a calendar — either digital or paper (see below to download our paper planner). You're also going to prepare your recipes. Again, either digital or on paper. If you use paper, keep the calendar and the recipes in a binder.
Download our 1-page menu planning calendar here. It includes room to pencil in your prep steps, too.
3. Create a master shopping list for your menu.
If you've made a 2-week menu, you know what ingredients you need to buy to be able to make and serve these meals. Keep this in the binder with your calendar and recipes — or if you're digital, keep it together with your other files.
4. Cook from the menu!
You have what you need and you've done all the mental heavy-lifting. All that's left is to follow the plan. 🙂
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