The Homemade Kitchen- My Sister’s Meal Planning System

Last week, I shared my Meal Planning System with you as a part of The Homemade Kitchen feature.  Meal planning is so important to me, saving me money, since I don’t waste food that I didn’t need to buy, and headaches, since I know exactly what I’m cooking and what food I need to procure.

My system is designed for how I like to eat, meaning that I am always experimenting, hardly ever making the same meal twice.  On the other hand, my sister’s system, which I’m so excited to be sharing with you today, is perfect for busy moms and those in a time crunch.  It relies on tired and true tested meals that you know everyone loves.

The genus in my sisters system is her meal cards.  Before a dish can be made into a meal card, she tests it with her family.  A big Pinterest user (you can follow her here) she is always trying something new!  If the dish passes the family taste test (as well as the easy to make test), she creates a meal card for it with the dish name on front and the recipe on the back.

This makes planning simple for her since she can just sort through her cards to select meals for the week that she knows everyone will love.  Also, it streamlines making a grocery list since all the ingredients are listed on the back of the cards.  You could just pick out your cards for the week and head to the store.

Her system, like mine, relies on a calendar of sorts.  She uses a dry erase board to label the days of the week and magnets to hold the meal cards in their place.  The picture above of the board shows her meal selections for the week after we left her house in Montana.  You can see she wrote in with marker a new recipe she wanted to try, and other times she will also write in ‘leftovers’ or ‘dinner out’ to accommodate extra food or nights when she doesn’t want to cook.

The difference in our systems, beyond the meal cards, is that her board doesn’t have a space for lunches each day.  It is her family’s policy to eat leftovers the day after for lunch, taking the thought process and effort out of managing another meal for the day.

Finally, she has a magnetic basket that hangs on the board where she stores her cards and makers so that everything stays in one place.

I think you will agree that her system is super easy and useful.  For someone with a family, having the tested recipe cards makes it easy to know your picky kid will enjoy his dinner.  I could even see how incorporating something like this into my system would be useful because truly, sometimes it’s just hard to figure out what to eat!

One additional thought I had would be to have each color card stand for something different, so possible red could be beef meals, yellow for chicken, green for vegetarian, and so on.  You could also do this type of color code system for breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes, or even main course, side dish, and dessert.  The possibilities are endless and totally customizable.

Thanks, Katy, for letting me share your great idea.  I know many readers will find this information invaluable!

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