Meal planning for a month – ideas and lessons

We had a month with lots of different meal planning ideas. Ironically, we were more structured before the kids, Monday through Friday were scheduled with type of meat, sides and salad. This was the scenario the first week and we quickly realized that we are ambitious when planning. However meeting those ambitions can be hard with one parent at work and two screaming kids.

During the weekend we’d look at the catalogues from our local stores to keep our expenses low and to get inspiration. If there’s a deal on a cut of meat or whole chicken we’ll fit that in. Mondays is for gymnastics for our 4 year old and once we get home dinner has to be served as quickly as possible. Therefor a chicken on the rotisserie for an hour is a great choice. However our baker has a monday deal on some delicious rye bread and with some cold cuts we can have Smørrebrød in 5 minutes. Either way monday is a low-effort day in terms of dinner. We keep at least one of each choice in the fridge to allow us to pick the most fitting.

Salad is a must!

My meal planning ideas would usually consist of choice of meat and whatever might be available. This would often result in a bread and potato combination. Even though our oldest is a bread and butter aficionado, my better half is more of a salad person. As a result our shopping list always includes tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and whatever other vegetables might be on sale. Because matches with oil, vinegar, balsamic or honey/mustard this opens a world of different salads.

Basic stock and pizza day

Along with the weekly restock of vegetables our cupboards has canned goods like beans and salsa, dry pasta and tortillas. Our freezer has chicken breast, minced beef, minced pork, pork chops and hot wings. All in all the point is to allow flexibility and easily accessible meats and sides.

The whole family loves pizza and friday is the perfect day. Similarly to what we did when I was a kid and one of my fondest memories. This is weekend, this is relaxation and it’s a routine along with fredagsslik/friday candy. The latter, I can see, is a danish thing 🙂

Other meal planning ideas

We have mediocre experiences with these but might revisit them at some point.

  • Meal prep sunday – The joy of freshly prepared food is simply too valuable even if it means cooking once a week.
  • Meal boxes – The variety is better than our creativity but the prices are too steep.
  • Soup day, meatless day, etc. – This would limit our choices which could ease the decision, but also give a feeling of restrictions.

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