Meal planning is no easy task, especially when trying to accommodate a variety of diets. In our family, I have Celiac Disease so I always cook gluten-free, and my daughter is a vegetarian. To make sure that all of our dietary needs are being met, and to help me save time and money at the market, a weekly plan is a lifesaver.
Each weekend I ask for input on the menu and we go over our schedule as a family. Depending on what evening activities we have during the week (it’s always crazy), I will plan to have a few super quick meals (think gourmet gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches) and a few more complicated ones. I have a running list of produce available from our CSA basket as well, to make sure we use up all of our veggies. I usually do all the grocery shopping on Monday, and then I write the menu choices on a large chalkboard in the kitchen.
I like a lot of flexibility, so I don’t assign a meal to a particular day–rather, I wait and see how the afternoon is turning out (and how much energy I have). Because I have the ingredients already, I have the freedom to choose from those 4-5 meals we have planned out. Finally, we’ve begun a new tradition in our family that we fondly call Wacky Wednesdays, where the kids take turns planning for, and preparing dinner. Since we’ve started doing this, the kids have a lot more appreciation for the work I do in the kitchen, and do a lot less complaining during the rest of the week.