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  November 2, 2008

Why should you use a meal plan?

Experts agree that one of the most important things we parents can do for our children is to make family dinner time a priority; it gives parents, and kids alike a chance to unwind, recharge and bond over a hot meal. Studies have shown that regularly eating dinner as a family can actually reduce the risk of a teen-age girl developing an eating disorder*. What’s more, eating dinner as a family can reduce the risk and even reverse both childhood and adult obesity! And yet, day after day, the afternoon crunch and stresses of rush hour are repeatedly compounded by the recurring, panicked question of “what’s for dinner?!”

This is why a calendar brimming with a month full of meal ideas (a Monthly Meal Planner) is exactly what we all need! Planning ahead reduces stress, leads to healthier food choices, and best of all, it saves money!

As an avid cook and mother of three, I am able to benefit from this Monthly Meal Planner and I hope to extend this helpful idea to all of you! And if you find this to be a stress-reducer, energy-saver, and time-economizer for you, just think of what it can do for your friends and family! Please pass it on! Because the more people who benefit from, the more I know my time is well-spent!

* sources ** sources

How got started

A couple of years back, I got a blank calendar as a gift. Having the blank calendar on my fridge door inspired me to start planning out my meals a month at a time. When friends came over, I got all sorts of comments, ranging from “what a great idea—can I get a copy!?” to “you’re such a weird-o! Um, could I get a copy?”

I don't think planning out my meals makes me a weird-o! Now, decorating my whole house in bright pink tulle for my daughter’s princess party, staying up until all hours for weeks in a row to plot a murder mystery dinner party, or wearing the crazy crab hat all day because my son thinks it’s funny, those things certainly place me solidly in the “weird-o” category. But I mean, really, planning an entire month of meals at a time, that’s a totally normal activity!

Anyhow, I found typing up the calendars full of planned meals and emailing them to friends. The meal planners were passed along to a few friends of friends, and I had several requests and suggestions to build a website. So now I stay up until all hours working on my favorite hobby- meal planning. O.K., maybe taking meal planning to the extent that I take it does make me a weird-o, but at least you can reap the benefits!

How I plan/goals of MMP
  • In an effort to save time and to avoid boring left-overs, each week features at least one meal that is a variation on a key ingredient from a previous meal.
  • I take religious, national, and even unusual (i.e. Sandwich Day) holidays into consideration.
  • I incorporate a variety of U.S. and international regional dishes.
  • I focus on balanced meals so busy moms and dads don’t have to scramble to figure out a healthy side dish for each meal.
  • Since Mondays are usually the most hectic days of everyone’s week, I strive to ensure that all the Monday meals are especially easy.
  • TGIF! For Fridays, I make an effort at finding or creating recipes that will be fun for kids to eat, and even to help prepare.
  • Saturdays and Sundays are the days that most people have a little extra time on their hands. On Saturdays, I focus on meals that would make a good show if you have company coming, while the all-important Sunday dinners are designated as meals that center around comfort foods, so you have a nice, relaxing start to your week.


Jes Mostek
Monthly Meal Planner

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