Is meal planning always a drag for you?
It can be hard to think of what to make every week. You come up with the same couple of ideas and you get bored easily. And you waste so much time trying to think of any new ideas.
I’m still the same way! Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever get bored eating the same things over and over. And one day I decided to create a Master Meal List. Something to store all of our favorite dinners that I can turn to when I’m in a meal-planning rut. I still have a secret board on Pinterest for my tried-and-true favorites, but there’s something about having a physical list that makes my brain work a little differently.
If you’re stuck as well with your meal planning woes, here’s how to create a Master Meal List that works for you and your family. Scroll to the bottom to get your FREE download of a Master Meal List template!
Take 10-15 minutes and write down your favorite meal ideas
When I first sat down to write out our favorite meals, I kept thinking, “Surely I can’t come up with a whole lot.” I was surprised when, right off the bat, I had written down at least 35 dinner ideas!
Some of them were very specific recipes- like my Egg Roll in a Bowl. Others were just generic, like “Chili”. But that gives me something to work with, so I can change up recipes if I need to.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can write down dinner, breakfast, and lunch ideas. My family is pretty simple when it comes to breakfast, though; and we eat leftovers for lunch- so for us, dinners are the most important ones to come up with.
When it comes to dinners, try to have at least 30 ideas. That way you can at least have something different to eat every day of the month; if you’re a monthly planner instead of a weekly planner like I am, this will really help. Or, come up with 60- then you can have a 2-month rotation where you hopefully won’t get bored because each dinner will only show up once every 2 months.
Categorize into themed meals, if desired
Once you have your random list of ideas, you can separate them into specific categories- like Mexican dishes, Pasta, Asian, Soups, etc. You may be surprised (or not) to see that you’re a big fan of a particular kind of food!
If you find you’re lacking in some categories, you can think of others to add to even things out. I love anything Mexican, but even I might get bored having it 2-3 times a week.
Put inside your recipe book, hang on the fridge, etc
When everything is all organized and the way you want it, find a place to keep it that’s within easy reach. Maybe you have a master recipe book; or you could hang it on your fridge or command center so it’s always in view and you can add to it when needed.
Now that you know how to make a Master Meal List, download your free template by clicking the image below! You may be surprised at how many different meals you can come up with.
With your new master meal list, meal planning will start to become a lot easier! Now you have at least 30 ideas to choose from, and you’ll save lots of time wondering what to make.
Do you have a master meal list already made, or another way to keep track of your meal ideas? Share with us in the comments below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.