So, my last post was about five quick & easy weeknight dinners that are kid-friendly to make this back-to-school season easier for you. Today, I want to talk to you about meal planning with meal themes.
This is something that I am working on currently in my home. You can save a lot of time creating your weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly meal plans by implementing this simple strategy.
If you are new to meal planning, using meal themes is also a great way to start. It is completely customizable to you, your family, and your schedule. Let me demonstrate to you what I mean by showing you what I do.
Monday Meal Theme – Mexican Monday
I love Mondays. I know that might seem weird to you, especially with so many people hating the thought of going back to work or school after the weekend, but I really do love Mondays.
At my house, Monday is the only day during the week that I do not have to leave the house. I am able to relax, plan, and get stuff done. It is all about setting the tone for the week. I am also at home in the evening so I can take my time with dinner.
If you read further down, you will see that I don’t have many nights to enjoy cooking a real meal. And since we do not have “Taco Tuesdays” at my house (much to the disappointment of my daughter), we have made “Mexican Monday”.
This way, we can have tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas; you get the idea. There are so many options, that getting bored is not likely. Getting bored would probably happen if I was having tacos every single Tuesday.
Tuesday Meal Theme – Fend-For-Yourself
Tuesdays are pretty busy at our house with my son having taekwondo, my daughter having two dance classes (and taking our neighbor/my daughter’s best friend to dance as well) and me working at my daughter’s dance studio, as well. I am running around everywhere within just a few short hours in the evening.
With all of that going on, we have decided to make Tuesday’s a “Fend For Yourself Night”. We always have something for everyone to make for themselves or heat up. This could be sandwiches, freezer burritos or even leftovers.
This means that my son eats before or after taekwondo at home (I pick him up after I am at the dance studio for a while). My daughter and her friend eat at the dance studio. I usually have something for them in the fridge/freezer to grab.
My husband will usually go for the leftovers in the fridge or if it’s a late-night for him, he will grab something on the way home. I, on the other hand, will grab something wherever I can.
Wednesday Meal Theme – Slow-Cooker or Casserole
Wednesdays are another crazy night for us. There isn’t as much running as Tuesdays, but I am still in a hurry and not home until after 8 o’clock, usually.
There are office hours to put in at the dance studio, so I am there by two. For the last hour that we are there, my daughter has a dance team practice (she is working on a solo for competition in the spring).
We leave as soon as dance team is done so that we can make it home to change and get my son and sometimes a few neighborhood kids. From there we are back on the road to Wednesday Night Church. The time we have to leave changes depending on if it is my week to teach in the nursery. I say teach, but I am really loving and praying over babies. So much fun!
With all of that going on, we usually plan on having a “Slow-Cooker Meal or Casserole Night” that is ready to just pop into the oven. With this meal theme, I can have the slow-cooker going before I leave for the dance studio or my husband can take care of the casserole while I am driving home from church.
Thursday Meal Theme – Quick & Easy
Thursday nights are not as busy or crazy as the previous two nights of the week, but we are still out until about 8 o’clock. My son has taekwondo again on Thursdays so we try to do some that won’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare.
This means that our dinners on Thursdays usually consist of “Breakfast for dinner” or “Hot Sandwiches”. We also love to use our Instant Pot, so a “Quick & Easy Night” is the perfect opportunity for that.
Friday Meal Theme – Italian
I still have things to do on Fridays. Office hours at the dance studio (again) for starters. For the most part, though, Fridays are a pretty chill day. I only homeschool Monday through Thursday so Friday is the start to our weekend.
Friday night is also free of activities. We do go out of town occasionally, but for the most part, just like on Monday nights, I am home to cook a real meal for my family. Well, my husband and I do the cooking together, if we can.
With Monday’s meal theme being Mexican, we decided to make Friday “Italian Night”. We love this, because, well we all love Italian food. Spaghetti, pizza, and chicken parmesan all make the rounds. Garlic bread is always a must, as well.
Saturday Meal Theme -Try Something New
Saturday nights are the most fun of all. With our meal theme being “Try Something New”, it is our chance to try out new recipes.
This could mean a new Mexican or Italian dish, a new slow-cooker meal or maybe something quick & easy. It could also mean that we stray a bit from the meal themes and make some Chinese food or possibly a restaurant copycat recipe.
With Saturdays, the options here are endless, but it also helps us with some variety. We all need a bit of that to keep things fresh and interesting.
I do want to note, that we always have something on hand (even if it is just bread, cheese, and lunch meat) as a back-up plan just in case we don’t like the “new” recipe. With four people, it is pretty likely that at least someone won’t be happy.
Sunday Meal Theme – Dine Out or Takeout
Sunday, our last night of the week. Sunday is the Sabbath, a day to rest. It is also our Family Day. We spend as much of Sunday together as a family as we can.
I also don’t feel like spending time cooking and cleaning on Sundays so it is our meal theme is “Dine Out or Takeout”. The “dine out” part usually comes after church. We typically go to the earlier service, and since none of us are big breakfast eaters, we tend to be hungry after church. So, we head somewhere for a nice brunch/lunch before heading home.
In the evening is when we usually get “takeout”. As a family, we try to make Sunday nights even more about family time. It is either a movie night or a board game night. These evenings are so much fun that we will get something to eat at home while we watch or play.
Now you know a little bit of my meal planning strategy, I would love to know what you think. Are you willing to give it a try? Do you have a different method that you would love to share?
Leave a comment below letting me know what you liked. Also, please share this with family or friends who may find it helpful & useful.
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