What’s for Dinner?

by Janis Cox

Are You There, God?

“What’s for dinner? I’m hungry.”

Okay – who hasn’t heard that phrase before? If you haven’t you either are extremely well organized or from another planet.

How do you answer this? Here are 3 ways I used to answer the question:

  • Oh I am too tired – let’s just go out to eat. ($$$ not in your budget)
  • What would you like? Let me see if I can find something to satisfy you.
  • Let’s look at the meal plan on the fridge and see what’s up for tonight.

I used to do both number 1 and number 2. Never had I tried number 3. But this year – 2013 – I decided that I needed to know what I planned for dinner before the crunch arrived.

Meal planning – sounds dauntless.

But it doesn’t have to be. I made meal planning extremely simple. I chose only to look at dinners. Breakfasts and lunches seem to take care of themselves. But the family meal at the end of the day – that is the most important and the one that you are tempted to say: “OUT”.

There are 3 steps I took to planning my monthly calendar.

1. Choose the meals that you like to eat:

I decided which meals we ate regularly and decided to put them in a rotation. We like to eat fish, chicken and the occasional red meat. So my meals rotated around those foods. I checked my freezer to see which of those meats I have on hand (some of them might have to be replenished) and used that as a basis to start.

2. Print out a monthly calendar.

And then start to fill in the days. We eat talapia, salmon, (canned and Pacific), shrimp and scallops. Chicken is either, breasts, thighs, or a whole chicken. And red meats are steaks, roast beef, or pork tenderloin. Also ground beef and ground chicken for tacos, spaghetti, and chili. Homemade pizza can fit in here too. It didn’t take long to fill the 30 days.

You can get fancier and write down which recipe you will use for each but I have most recipes in my head over the years and didn’t have to do that.

3. Do a weekly shopping for the other foods.

Each week I look at the plan for the week and make a grocery list for what goes around my meal plan. I buy the fruits, vegetables and staples that will supplement the meals.

Now when I come home and look at the time, I don’t panic and say, “What’s for dinner?” I look on the fridge and the rest is easy.

Tonight we are having salmon loaf. I know that all ready and I have everything on hand that is needed for dinner tonight. HURRAH.

What do you do to keep yourself sane in meal preparation? Click to Tweet.

I am reading Saving Savvy by Kelly Hancock. Some of the ideas in this post come from her chapter on “Planning Never Tasted so Good”.

Here are her three reasons for making a meal plan.

1. It eliminates overbuying.

When I know exactly what meals are on the plan for the week I take in account what we will eat so I don’t overbuy. That saves MONEY.

2.  It eliminates waste.

By buying just what fits into my meal plan for the week I eliminate waste. That way I don’t have “yuck” in the bottom of my fridge from decaying food. That saves MONEY.

3.  It eliminates stress.

I hate pressure and thinking under pressure when I am tired is worse. So if I know in the morning what’s on for dinner I can relax during the day and come home knowing what to do. I don’t have to frantically scrounge in the fridge trying to feed a hungry husband. And we don’t have to spend money on a meal out except when it is planned.

Read more money tips by putting money in the search bar on the right.

I found an excellent post called “for the Love of Food” which goes into more detail on meal planning. I found it after I wrote this post. Thank you, Lord.

And here are more Related articles

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. Jan has completed a children’s book called Tadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator. Word Alive has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

This entry was posted in ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MOMS, HOLIDAYS, LIFE, Meal Planning, MONEY & FINANCES and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

  1. Great ideas, Jan. I remember when my kids were young I made a similar calendar. It helped my stress level tremendously! I think I’ll take your advice and start the habit again.

  2. Janet Stobie says:

    Great follow up on my blog. I remember combing the ads as I planned the meals for a week for my family. As a stay at home Mom, stretching the food dollar became my weekly brain challenge Hi Jan, Great follow up on my blog. I remember combing the ads as I planned the meals for a week for my family. As a stay at home Mom, stretching the food dollar became my weekly brain challenge as well as a necessity. Planning the meals ahead was essential to the process. I planned them around the weekly specials keeping in mind the family’s likes and dislikes. Eventually it became fun.

  3. Stretching that food dollar is important at any age. We want to be good stewards of God’s finances and so even now we are careful to watch how we buy anything.

  4. Hi Jan,
    I wish I was that organized when it comes to meal planning.
    The only thing that forces me to cook (I’d rather clean toilets) is to save money.
    I do make it a point to take something out of the freezer by noon and decide what’s on menu for that evening.
    Great post! :-)

  5. Pingback: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT | Family and Faith Matters

  6. This was a very well written post…and especially since I know I am using ham leftovers for supper and THAT’s about it!! I have posted on meal planning but sometimes just don’t seem to end up with time (or doing it?) When my children were younger I always planned meals out or got in a rut. Thank you so much for stopping by to linkup over at WholeHearted Home this week. Your post was a blessing…as well as finding your blog!!

  7. monicapruett says:

    Good advice esp. for new moms like me. Thanks for linking up at Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home!


    In His Grip,


  8. Meg says:

    I try to plan ahead, but I don’t necessarily make what I plan. I try to plan meals that are flexible – if I plan on tacos (with browned ground beef) and a kiddo has a bad day, I may swap it with something like tater tot casserole (a favorite), or if I just don’t feel like cutting up all the side stuff, we have sloppy joes and salad (where I can pawn prep off on a bigger kid and call it “knife skills” and size of chunks isn’t an issue). Sometimes, I’ll even swap meals and do Tuesday’s dinner on Friday if we have surprise chaos that week, or I just am not feeling the love for what I thought I’d want to eat a month ago. I used to feel if I said “This meal on this day,” that was what we ate, but sometimes I was driving myself crazy trying to stick to the rules.

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