Organizing your family’s meal planning, part 2
By Aimee Heckel
Last week, we talked to professional organizer Joanna Monahan, about the first three steps in organizing your family’s meal planning to boost health and help with weight loss — if that’s a resolution. The steps were:
1. Create a vision.
2. Make a plan.
3. Be informed.
Monahan is a mom herself, and also a member of Colorado-based professional organization crew, Major Mom.
Today, Monahan shares the rest of her expert tips on how to run your kitchen like a boss. An organized mom boss.
One of the biggest challenges can be meal planning. Another Major Mom “liberator,” Cathy Thompson, offers this solution to meal planning.
4. Use the acronym “FAMILY” to help you plan meals.
Each day of the week is assigned a letter in the word “family,” with one day left free (because you never know what life will throw at you).
F — Family dinner. Plan one family dinner every week. This may be a large meal, a Sunday get-together or a recipe from your family’s favorite recipes, on regular rotation.
A — American. Pick on American classic, such as hamburgers or hot dogs.
M — Mexican (or Meatless)
I – Italian
L — Leftovers (A night off from cooking! Yay!)
Y — Your choice. This is a night to get the kids involved by letting them pick a meal, or at least a dessert. Have them help prepare the whole meal.
“I’ve had great success using Cathy’s plan; I use it to plan a month of meals at a time,” Monahan says.
5. Start new habits. Post your meal plan on the fridge for everyone to see, and include information on where to find the recipes so anyone can start dinner, if they want to get involved.
If you are tracking your intake of food, now is a good time to enter the meal plan into your food journal. This will make it more likely that you’ll stick to it, Monahan says.
Monahan recommends picking up the “Taste of Home Daily Planner 2014,” $14.99, which will not only help you stay organized, but also find new recipes and improve your cooking with tips.
6. Write out a shopping list. Monahan loves the All Out Of Red Pad, $7, the perfect grocery list pad.
Before you go to the grocery store, always check your fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure you don’t buy something you already have.
7. Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the healthiest foods, according to the Mayo Clinic — plus produce and bulk is almost always cheaper than buying premade stuff in packages.
8. Prep your meals in advance. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time when you are unpacking or as soon as possible. Wash produce, measure out serving sizes of to-go snacks.
Save money on other purchases for babies and kids with these great coupons.
9. After each dinner, grade the meal. Ask your family: Is it a keeper? Pinterest is another great way to organize recipes and add comments, as well as suggestions for what might make a recipe better. Consider grading meals on a scale of 1-5, with five being a family favorite. Delete the low-ranking recipes from your box.
“Organized meal planning is a great decluttering opportunity,” Monahan says. “How many of us have recipes we’ve ripped out of magazines floating around the kitchen? Here’s your chance to try them. Collect recipes you like in a favorites folder. If you don’t like them, throw them away!”
“Try new things, but don’t go overboard planning elaborate, difficult meals,” Monahan says. “The point is to free up time and relieve stress.”
Want to learn more?
Major Mom’s newest workshop, “Organizing For Weight Loss,” starts today. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming webinar and e-book.
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