September Focus: Meal Planning

One of my personal goals for 2017 was to have a focus for each month.  I did okay with my morning routine in January, and then I went the other direction in February by concentrating on realistic expectations… But then I didn’t define another monthly focus until June, and then it wasn’t even that successful… July and August went by without any focus… And so we have made it to September… I’m going to renew my attempts at having a focus for the month.

I originally tried having this as my focus for February, but that fell through… So, I have decided to revisit meal planning for my September focus.

I showed various versions of my past “meal planning” when I discussed my weekly spread in my bullet journal, but honestly, I wasn’t very good at it. And, at some point over the past year I stopped writing out a full week of daily layouts on my bullet journal ahead of time, and with that I stopped putting in a meal plan for the week… I still tracked what I was eating, but I didn’t have a place to write down the plan… And then, at some point in July, I stopped even keeping track of what I ate in my bullet journal (I still keep track, but I moved to keeping track of it in an app – MyFitnessPal).

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that I haven’t had a weekly meal plan written down in a very long time…

Most often my current “meal planning” involves stopping at the store on the way home and picking up something quick and easy to make.  And that’s on a good day.  I might also just pick up take-out, or resort to pop-corn or nachos for dinner.  It’s especially hard right now, since we don’t have a kitchen and the house is in renovation chaos…  But that’s why meal planning is so important, because I can’t just toss something together as easily as I could with a proper kitchen.  I have to buy things that can be either cooked on the BBQ or in a single pot on our 1 burner camp stove.

I am always so impressed when I read the meal plans that ShyWriter posts on her blog A Writer Cooks.  She makes it look so simple!

So, this week, on Monday evening (it was a long weekend, so the “week” didn’t start until Tuesday), I took a quick look at the flyers for the 3 grocery stores that I frequent, and made a quick (very messy) meal plan for the week.  Here’s what it looked like in my bullet journal:


I made the plan using the sales at the three stores, but I made the plan so that I didn’t have to go to all three stores on Tuesday.  You’ll also notice that there are actually quite a few meals that are eaten out, or take-out/order-in.  This is because of our current kitchen situation and the fact that this is a busy week.  Anyway, I made my shopping lists and everything seemed to be on track… And then the week started… And the realization that everything takes way longer the first week of school… traffic is worse, lines at the stores are longer, and I have a bunch of commitments that are specific to the beginning of fall activities…

So here’s the reality so far:

Tuesday: I ate yogurt, fruit and cheerios for breakfast, but my husband skipped on that and got something on his way to work… For dinner, I made kabobs and potatoes, but then didn’t have a chance to really eat before I had to run out to a meeting.  I was gone when my husband arrived home, and rather than eating the kabobs, he ate some other leftovers in the fridge (which is great, but that meant that my planned dinner didn’t really get eaten – more for lunches I suppose… ).  I did have some of it when I got home, but didn’t bother with a salad at that point.

Wednesday: Going out for breakfast was the easy part.  For dinner, I bought the ingredients, but then didn’t have any time at all when I got home to cook, so I grabbed a frozen burrito to eat on the way to my meeting, and my husband picked up some tacos on his way home from work…

Thursday: Which brings us to today… We did eat our Cheerios for breakfast, but since we didn’t cook the prawns last night, I’ll be cooking them tonight… So, the plan for butter chicken tonight is out the window now… Luckily, I didn’t bother getting my husband to pick that up from the Indian place on the corner, so it’s all good…

So… Week #1 has got off to a rocky start, but the point of this focus is to work on it, and improve… Not instantly be perfect at it.  So I will persevere.  And of course, I will work on making my meal plan for next week prettier with some of these bullet journal ideas:

This is from Kimberly at Sublime Reflection.
This is from Em Schwartz on Instagram

Wish me luck and I’ll come back with an update later in the month.

Do you meal plan?  Do you have any tips that you can give me?  What works for you?




7 thoughts on “September Focus: Meal Planning

  1. Great attempt! Meal planning definitely takes some practice. Maybe don’t assign specific dates to the meals, that way you don’t feel like your schedule is messed up. I always choose my dinner for the day from the meals I’ve planned based on the time I have and how I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I guess I shouldn’t be too concerned with what day the meal is used, so long as it gets used, right? I just know that the likelihood of going for take-out is higher on evenings where we have busy plans, so I try to make some of the meals really simple to make, and the ones that take longer on days where we have no plans… So maybe the exact day isn’t required, but plan out the “busy day meals” vs. the “relaxed evening meals”… Anyway, it’s a work in progress…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay, meal planning! I batch cook everything for the week on Friday evenings, when I get my CSA delivery. It helps a lot, especially when I am expected to be busy during the week.

    My advice is to check out Mind Over Munch on YouTube. She has a lower key batch-cooking/meal prepping style and a lot of easy, healthy, and tasty recipes (including some pre-written seasonal meal plans).

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Batch cooking would work great when I have a kitchen back… Right now without a proper kitchen, I don’t really have a place to do any prep work, so that’s not really an option right now… Soon though… soon…

      I really want to look in to getting a CSA delivery. It might not happen this year, but I’d like to get something set up before the next growing season starts…

      And thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely take a look at Mind Over Munch!


  3. I do a list of 2 weeks worth of meal possibilities using sale ingredients or what I need to use up in my pantry. I try to have a mix of new recipes, easy favorites, and some assembly required meals (salad, tacos). Then I just consult the list when it’s time to fix dinner and pick what feels best. This also means that I only really shop twice per month… I hate shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do almost the opposite and shop multiple times a week… But I do like the idea of having a list of meal possibilities to work from. I think I need to put together a list of my go-to meals for easy reference.


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