I have 3 kids and I spend my days answering many, many questions. Hot topics include ” Can I have this?”  “When can I have it?” And the ever popular ” Can I have ALL of it?”. I have all the answers, I’m the I-ching, the Dalai Lama, and the Wizard of Oz all rolled into one mom shaped package. I give my children the answers they need with a grace and wisdom beyond their years — No, kids. The answer is No.

But there is one question that penetrates my peaceful exterior and strikes panicked frustration into my heart.

What’s for dinner?

Sadly when I respond with ” Whatever you’re making “, they don’t instantly start chopping vegetables. Someday, kids. Someday. Until then I need a plan. I try to plan out all the family meals on Sunday during a weekly planning session. This helps, but I found myself spending too much time reviewing my options, trying to find ways to mix it up, or trying to meet random dietary needs as our fitness resolutions come and go. I needed all the info to be in one place, a reference guide.

Lucky for me, I have my trusty Bullet Journal by my side, in which all things are possible. After some research into various methods, I created a Master Meal List, that contains all the info I need to make an informed decision.

This was simple to make and contains 3 main components. Here they are in three easy steps, so you can easily make your own customized version to fit your families needs.

Key

I first had to decide how I wanted to organize the information. When I’m trying to decide on what to make, what details do I consider first? Chicken or beef? Super healthy or super comforting? How much time do I have to cook? As I listed them out I came up with 16 different categories!

Now granted, I personally tend to go a little overboard in the necessary information department. When making your own you can use as many or as few categories as you want. You could stick with just breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or Chicken, beef,  fish, and veggie. Or you could organize them only by the time it takes to make them. You know what’s most important in your own family dinners.

Once I knew what info was important for me to track, I gave it a color code and moved on to listing the meals I tend to make most often and nobody complains about.

Meal List

The meal list is straightforward and simple.  I list the meals to one side and the info I need to see at a glance on the other.  Based on the color code I can easily pick out which meals will take 30 minutes or less, or which meal I need to whip out if we are expecting company. Or if I know specifically that we only have chicken available today, I can scroll down and decide between chicken recipes only. My pink dot with a circle around it tells me which meals are low carb. You get the picture.

As I was filling this out I realized a flaw in my system. The Stats side was quickly getting crowded with a lot of different colors. It wasn’t as simple as it should be to scroll and find what you want at a glance. Next time I will separate the Stats column into 3 sections, just like I have in my Key. Timing, Health, and Mood. Leaving only a couple boxes for each because it’s literally not possible to pick more than 2 stats in each category. This will make the info I need truly “at a glance”. Live and learn. Here’s and example of what I mean.

To Try

I also included a section where I can jot down meals I want to try out sometime. To the left, I have a Yes or No column. This way as I try them out, I can mark down if they are keepers or not.

And that’s it! My weekly meal planning just got a whole lot easier. Now my ” Dalai Mama” status can remain untarnished. Ask away, kids. Mama really does have all the answers.

Let me know what you think!