How I started meal planning – Free Download!

Overcoming the panic of preparing dinner

by Kristin Mooney

Ever since I had my first child, I wanted to begin meal planning.

I hated the mounting pressure every afternoon during naptime wondering,  “What are we going to eat for dinner?” As hard as I tried, ideas I had thought of days before escaped me, and the only meals I could think of were the ones we had just finished eating.

Matt and I decided to subscribe to the Sunday paper for the grocery store ads and coupons.  This was before Pinterest, so after getting the Sunday paper, I would open up cookbooks that were gifts from our wedding and search for appetizing recipes. As a bonus, I was even able to talk Matt into thumbing through the pages with me and bookmarking meals that appealed to him. After browsing the cookbooks, and matching recipes with my coupons, I made my weekly grocery list and headed for the store. While I started well, it was short lived because I didn’t have a plan. Without fail, by Wednesday afternoon I had strayed from the schedule and had used my can of cream of chicken soup for a prior meal. Not to mention, I purchased unnecessary items that expired and were wasted. It wasn’t going as I hoped.

A few months earlier a friend emailed me a meal plan template. I printed the template and attempted to complete it, but it was overwhelming, so I stuck it on top of my refrigerator for another day.

After more time passed, still determined to get organized, I sat down and began making a list of the meals that I routinely cooked. I tried to think of each and every meal and the ways I prepared them. It didn’t take long to assemble a lengthy list. I got my step stool and found that dusty template I had printed out months prior and sat at my kitchen table for another attempt to complete a meal plan. The same overwhelming feeling returned as before, but this time a Bible verse came to mind. Just that morning I had started reading Large Family Logistics, and it opens with Proverbs 29:18,

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

It wasn’t a coincidence. God was providing the encouragement I needed. He wanted me to achieve the organization and preparation I desired. By bringing that verse to my mind, God had affirmed my efforts and gave me the push I needed to go forward. It was so profound for me; I now write Proverbs 29:18 on the bottom of every monthly meal plan I create to remind me of that first day.

You can download my meal plan template below. I’m still using that original template six years later. It’s hard to believe, I have nearly SIX YEARS of meal plans!  I still get stuck in ruts and cook some of the same meals month after month, but the panic of “what’s for dinner?” during naptime is gone.