Now that I am pregnant, I am trying to think of ways to make my life even more organized. By establishing efficient habits now, I am hoping to ease some of the stress I may feel as a first-time mommy. One thing that I have started implementing is the use of a monthly meal planner. I decided to use the planner as a means to help me:
- provide a variety of well-balanced and nutritious meals for me and my husband
- form a grocery list and stick to it
- plan ahead so I (and my hubby) am not left wondering what’s for dinner each night
- avoid relying on eating out because I am not prepared and/or overwhelmed
The best part about using a monthly meal plan is that you can always recycle what you have already used.
Beginning a monthly meal plan is fairly easy. I developed a printable monthly meal planner template, which acts as my monthly meal calendar. If planning for a month seems overwhelming, use my printable biweekly meal planner to cut the time in half. Planning for two weeks will allow you to still stay ahead of the game.
To fill in the template, I set some guidelines for myself to make things easy and consistent. For example, I try to balance each meal with a protein, carbohydrate, and a vegetable/fruit. I also…
- include fish at least once a week
- limit pasta dishes to 1-2 nights
- limit meat and incorporate other forms of protein (we are not big meat-eaters)
- cook more time-consuming dishes in large quantities so they can be frozen and reused
- have a low-key sandwich night at least once a week
- incorporate a soup at least once a week (summer may not seem like the time to eat soup, but you can choose soups that are light on the stomach and pair them with a crisp salad)
- throw in a couple “brinner” nights (breakfast for dinner) because it is easy and totally fun
For those of you who want the planning already done for you, I have that option too. Here is a printable copy of my monthly meal plan for the month of June as well as my monthly meal plan for July. You will find that I have several recipes that I reuse. I hope to get around to posting the recipes included in these meal plans soon. If you are interested in anything in particular, just leave me a message in the comment bar. Happy planning!