“Take a little time to make ordinary things extraordinary.”
~ Emilie Barnes ~
Summertime is an easy time for me to get off my regular routine of menu planning. It seems in the winter we stick more to a schedule but summer brings about a more flexible and changing schedule. Along with that, I find myself getting out of planning meals like I do when we're cooped up in the winter months. I don't like it when I do this because it takes up more time and costs me more money when I don't meal plan.
I have some simple tips that will hopefully help you to stick with meal planning over the summer. Menu planning is a time and money saver and I don't know about you but I would sure like to have more time to enjoy my summer months.
Ten Tips for Simple Menu Planning in the Summer Months
1. Take the time to meal plan for all three meals. It isn't necessary but it does help me to plan my grocery list and it is so nice to just look at the menu plan before bed to see what is on the plan for the next day.
2. Have the same menu plan each week for breakfast meals. Pick 4-5 (or less) breakfast meals your family loves and just rotate them throughout the week. (See Simple & Healthy Breakfast Ideas)
3. Make sure you work in leftovers for lunch. You can cook a little extra for dinner to make sure you have leftovers for lunch. Otherwise use the same strategy you did for breakfast. Make a list of 4-5 lunch options that your family loves and just rotate those thought the week. (See Simple & Healthy Lunch Ideas)
4. Make sure to meal plan and shop on a day that works best for your schedule. I meal plan weekly on Sunday nights and shop on Monday mornings. You may be a biweekly planner or monthly. Just make sure it works well with your family calendar.
5. Plan for on-the-go lunches for working husbands or school kids. 100 Days of Real Food is a great place to find creative, easy and healthy packed lunch options. My son takes a salad with a protein for lunch every day and I just make sure to cook extra meat or hard boil some eggs for the week.
6. Work leftovers into your menu plan so you can cook once and eat twice.
7. Plan picnic-style meals and head to a park once a week for dinner and playtime with the family. Some of our favorite dinners are summer sausage, cut up veggies, fruit, crackers, cheese and a good piece of dark chocolate.
8. Use your grill and plan side dishes that don't need heat. Salads, cut up fruit and vegetables with dip are great ways to add nutrition and easy clean up to meals.
10. Utilize a meal planning service that does the work for you. I love Build A Menu and the Trim Healthy Mama Plan is one of my favorites on there. (Check out How Does Build A Menu Work for more details and to see how easy it is)
My last tip and one I really want to encourage you in is to just resolve to do it.
I guarantee if you would menu plan for a month, you would not want to go back to waking up and trying to decide, “What's for Dinner?”
“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
~ Julia Child ~