Meal Planning Cycles So you don't ever have to wonder, "what's for dinner?"

This has been a really crazy week. Kind of like when everything converges at the same time? Wedding planning is getting more intense and I’ve also been studying for my licensing exams. Not to mention keeping up with normal every day things, but this happens from time to time – life just gets busy. Somehow, we get to a point where there’s more to do than we can actually accomplish. It usually all works itself out though in the end…until someone asks, what’s for dinner?

In weeks or months that are so hectic you’re buying more food out than you cook – you need a safety net. Meal planning is so trendy right now, but its been done forever and it does not need to be complicated or take up so much time that you don’t even do it. Thinking of your weeks in terms of cycles could give you a whole monthly meal plan in minutes.

What I mean by this is that I meal plan for two or three weeks at a time. Then when I’m done, I cycle or repeat these weeks, starting from week 1. So sometimes I have a schedule set for over a month. This saves tons of time when I really need it the most. Here’s how to do it:

Plan for 2 weeks (14 dinners):

  1. First: only plan for what is ACTUALLY realistic with your schedule. Don’t ever plan for some intensive new recipe for the night you get home at 9. It’s just not going to happen (obviously).
  2. Start by filling the schedule in with your go to recipes. These are your fall back recipes. The ones you don’t even need to think about & take no longer than 30 minutes. Schedule these for your late or busy nights. Aim for a minimum of 4.
  3. Alternatively, you could designate each day a theme: Monday – Chicken, Tuesday: tacos, etc. and then pick specific recipes for week 1 & week 2. Ex:
    • Week 1: Monday – Chicken Pot Pie
    • Week 2: Monday – Chicken Piccata
  1. Weekend out? Friday take out? Any habits you have weekly, etc, put these in next.
  2. Another tactic I use is doubling a recipe to then have leftovers for another day.
  3. With any remaining days (that are not busy days) I like to leave to try new recipes. This is maybe 1 or 2 days a week.

Now that you have 14 days of dinner planned, you also have a very solid framework to keep going! You can repeat this once for 28 days or for however long you wish. There’s something really comforting about a predictable schedule during hectic times. Feel free to keep updating with new favorites or seasonal dishes.

I know this is a different post from usual: but what good is a new recipe if you never have time to make it? 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll be sharing one of my favorite fallback recipes: Chicken Piccata!

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