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Meal prepping for an entire month can seem daunting.
Why 30-day Meal Plans Don't Work
A 30-day meal plan is just really hard to make work especially for busy families who have schedules that differ every day, week-to-week.
★ A New Approach to Meal Planning ★
Introducing: A Flexible Monthly Menu
The challenge of coming up with a full month of meals is why I am trying out a new approach.
The approach is simple. One week's worth of meals are planned, then that week of meals is repeated for the entire of the month.
This approach simplifies meal planning. It's just 6 meals instead of 30, which offers many benefits.
School cafeterias and restaurant do this all the time! Why? It's efficient.
Yes, meals will be repeated, but only up to 4 times per month. Chances are, you're going to skip making dinner here and there in favor of eating out or popping in a frozen pizza, so repeats won't actually even be that common.
Here's why a static menu works so well:
- Many leftover ingredients can be saved from week to week, cutting down on expenses.
- A static monthly menu simplify shopping. Your recent purchases will be saved if you use a shopping app. Or if you're an in-person grocery shopper, you'll be familiar with where to find the items.
- There's an initial learning curve when trying the new recipes the first week, but then by the following weeks, prepping the same meals will become second nature.
- Repeating meals will actually help you memorize how to make them. So you won't have to rely on reading the recipe after awhile. You can even customize the recipe to vary the flavor or to tweak the dish to your family's unique cravings.
- Keeping the weekly dinner menu the same for an entire month, gives picky-eaters multiple chances to get acquainted with new foods and try them.
- Repeating the same meals week to week for a short time, adds a sense of comfort and familiarity to dinner time.
- Conversely, after a month of eating the same meals, your family will be ready to try something new!
★ Why You'll Love My Flexible Meal Plans ★
I am taking my tested dinner recipes and organizing them for you by month.
Vegetables Always Included
Each dish that does not have a vegetable included in the dish itself, offers a recommended side dish like a salad or a specific vegetable. You can change this out from week-to-week or not or if you prefer a different vegetable. Up to you.
It's very easy to roast almost any vegetable. Simply toss it in oil, sprinkle with salt and bake. Salad kits are also a quick and easy vegetable side dish.
Each recipe has a QR code which helps with:
For grocery shopping, just scan the QR code next to each recipe with your phone and check the ingredients list. I love to use grocery pick-up to save time but if you're more of an in-person shopper, try printing my free meal planner with grocery list to create your list.
When you're ready to start cooking, scan the QR code again. You'll see step-by-step instructions as well as a how-to video on most recipes.
Each recipe has a photo of the finished dish.
This helps the cook know what the recipe should look like when done and also shows your family what's for dinner.
★ FAQs ★
What if I don't like one or more of the dinner choices?
You may not love every single meal but that's OK. Most likely because of life being so unpredictable, you'll skip at least one meal to eat out.
If you need a replacement meal, I have many more dinner ideas. You can brown them all by scanning the QR code at the bottom of the menu.
What about breakfast and lunch?
Many of the recipes can be made in big batches so that there are leftovers you can take for lunch. Depending on your family size and how many leftovers you want, you can adjust the servings using the sliding scale on each of my recipes.
Pick a day each week to rest, relax a little and eat up leftovers!
You may even want to use that day to meal-prep some breakfast dishes.
Browse all my easy breakfast recipes here. You can apply the same static menu principle for your breakfast meal prep. Stick to 3-6 different breakfast items that you can rotate through for one whole month. Then switch those up next month.
Some of my breakfast recipes can be frozen and heated for easy to-go meals.
★ Download this Month's Menu ★
Ready to give my static dinner menu a try?
Just download and hit print:
Another perk of a static menu is that you can jump in and start any time! So don't wait, download the printable PDF linked above and get started!
If you're loving these flexible dinner menus, please leave me a comment below with how it's helped you or with any other tips you want to share.