We all struggle with coming up with ideas for dinner each night and week. But, really we are just overthinking it. Every time I go to a restaurant I frequently go to, 9/10 times I will order the exact same thing. Why? Because I love it and it's tried and true.
So, why are we stressing ourselves out trying to come up with different and creative meal ideas, day after day, week after week? We already know plenty of things to cook that most of the family will enjoy and can easily rotate.
So, get out of your head and pick one of the methods below to follow.
1. Same meal, same day (easiest)
Write up a meal plan for one week that includes something that everyone will like. Take their suggestions about what they would like to have on Mondays after footy training each week. Then follow the same weekly meal plan every week until you get sick of it or want to switch out something. Yes, this might be too boring for some. But, this also means 1 shopping list you can use over and over. To make it more interesting, simply change it with the seasons. Just like a restaurant would do.
I am personally following this approach at the moment. I highly recommend it if you have fussy eaters like me (they will live for their favourite meal each week) and lots of after school activities. I find this the best way to meal plan when I'm really struggling to cope with everything and life is getting on top of me. It's also great if you like to prepare your meals in advance. The only variation I have on this method is that I keep Thursdays as 'pressure cooker meals' and I pick a recipe out of my favourite cookbook. Just enough adventure for my taste buds to stop me getting so bored of spaghetti bolognese.
2. Same style dish, same day (more interesting)
This approach take the first method up a notch. All you need to do is pick a style of dish you enjoy for each day of the week, then follow that plan until you get sick of it. Then each week all you need to think of is what version of that dish you will make. Examples of dishes you might include are: pasta, soup, roast, pies, grilled meat and vegetables, barbecue, salad, stir fry, noodles, wraps, burgers, casserole, curries. I think you get the idea. My family loves wraps and poke bowls, and we mix these up by changing the fillings and toppings each week.
3. Same cuisine, same day (most creative)
If you are more passionate about cooking and have the time, this one is for you. A really fun approach to meal planning is selecting a type of cuisine for each day, then following that plan each week. For example, Italian, Chinese, Australian, Indian, Japanese, Tex Mex, and other cuisines you enjoy or are native to you. Now, it doesn't have to be a completely different dish every week. You could choose to make the same dishes you like some of the week to make it easier for you.
I haven't tried method out, but I definitely want to! I think this will be a great way to get my kids used to other types of food as they get older and their palate becomes a bit more sophisticated.
Would you try doing your meal planning one of these ways? Or do you already follow one of these methods? Tell us more!