Living a Dauntless Life Mom Life Organization recipes

Menu Planning 101

Steps to Creating the Menu

When I first began my health journey I needed simple tools to plan a menu that would work for our entire family.  There were so many tools, apps, and guidelines to follow that I was overwhelmed with where to start.

Many moms ask me, “How do I even do this?” I know this feeling.  So before we move forward, take a moment and breathe.  No, really, release the air you’re holding on to & let that tension go.  Now, say this simple prayer with me, “Lord, please give me Your wisdom to learn new methods to regain my health and lead a simple life that glorifies You in my kitchen and in my habits. Amen.”

While we may not be facing the huge task of an unfaithful nation in our kitchen, I love these inspiring words from the book of Ezra when I’m facing a challenge!  “Let’s rise up, take courage, and do it!” (Ezra 10:4) 

Now, Let’s Go!

For so long, we’ve just opened the fridge and the cabinets and tried to rummage around to find something we can create using spaghetti noodles, chocolate cake mix, and mole sauce and frozen veggies.  (Oh, wait! Was this just me?)

On a serious note though, we treat our kitchens the same way many of us treat our lives:  We LET life happen to us instead of creating and executing a plan to take charge of the life the Creator has given to us.

We LET life happen to us instead of creating and executing a plan to take charge of the life the Creator has given to us.

This post is not meant to lecture you.  This post is meant to be a wake-up call for those of us who KNOW we can do better, but feel a little overwhelmed at the process and where to begin.  I aim to give you the tools today to help you CREATE FREEDOM in your kitchen and in turn help you create a revolution in your life.

Let’s Keep this Simple

I’m all about creating systems and tools that help simplify our lives.  I plan our weekly menu in less than 10 minutes with these six simple steps.  After I review our calendar in one of my 10 MINUTE POWER POCKETS, I can then get to work on planning meals around our schedule.

Here are the exact steps I follow every single Sunday afternoon:

  1. Review all the events for the week on your calendar.
  2. Which meals can I double prep or cook at one time?
  3. Plan evening meals first.
  4. Plan breakfast.
  5. Plan lunch.
  6. Plan snacks for the “in-between” meals.

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STEP 1: Review the Calendar

This is where freedom truly begins! I’m all about planning, preparing, and being intentional with our time that the Creator give us.

The step to planning the menu is to KNOW which events are happening.  I totally understand the need for flexibility.  I did marry a soldier after all.  But, friend, creating a plan and writing it on paper is a MUST!  And, it is totally okay to adjust if you need!

I review our family calendar.  I can see which afternoons we may be late coming home, out for ball games, or simply schedule a family date night.  This moves us into Step 2: Decide which meals I can double cook.

STEP 2: Decide Which Meals I Can Double Cook.

I’m all about some Sunday afternoon meal prep in which I can prepare several meals at once to save me hours during the week!   I can double our portions for our protein sources or sides and repurpose these for several meals.   By knowing what is on our calendar, I can decide which nights would be perfect for leftovers!  This means less time in the kitchen and more time elsewhere!

STEP 3: Plan Evening Meals First

Why do I do this?  Because while it is the most challenging, it is also the place in which I like to be the most creative.

I created a simple list of which food choices we love so that I’m not going through the tiring process of trying to remember which veggies each child prefers.  By knowing my family’s likes I can create a variety of foods to put on their plates and ensure that if I’m introducing a new dish, then their favorites will be on the plate too!

Once I’ve decided and penciled in what we’re going to eat on our big calendar, I simply take a piece of plain paper and write it out.  Then, hang it next to the stove so that everyone can see what is planned for the week.  No more, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” questions.

While planning a menu Simple equals Success.  Writing the menu on paper like this is the epitome of simple.

STEP 4: Plan Breakfast

I follow a Portion Fix System for clean eating so breakfast always consists of high protein paired with vegetables or fruit.  Since one of my TOP 10 DAILY GOALS is to have a vegetable or fruit at each meal for our family, these two ideas mesh perfectly together!

Breakfast is a simple affair and usually prepped several days at a time.  I plan to post soon a month of breakfast meals for you!  I can’t wait to get this in your hands!

 

STEP 5: Plan Lunch

Salads are my jam!  I’ve shared with you my MASON JAR SALAD tips, and seriously, they have been my life saver.  While I love good leftovers for lunch, I usually send those with the husband or the children!  I vary my salad toppings frequently, but really try to stay with this combo: 2 cups mixed vegetables, 1/2 cup fruit, 3/4 cup lean protein, 1/3 cup nuts or cheese, and a simple topping of seeds or a dressing.

This combo makes it easy for me to follow the Portion Fix System and keep my weight off!  It also fills me up and keeps me from feeling sluggish from a heavy lunch!

mason jar salads

Friend, whatever plan you follow, know this: PLAN your lunch.  If you can prepare it ahead of time this keeps you on track with healthy eating!  It’s truly about finding a combination that works for your family!

STEP 6: Plan Snacks

Oh yes!  We are going here today.  This, my dear friend, is where many of us become derailed in our health journeys!  We fail to plan for snack times.  We vow, “I”LL BE STRONG!” and then cave when the mid-afternoon hits with fussy children, after-school rushing, or the big project that must be finished.

What if you embraced these times and planned accordingly?  Know you have a stressful afternoon and chocolate sounds too good to pass up?  By planning and preparing a simple snack, the temptation to cave is not as strong.

I also love to have a fruit or vegetable pair with protein at this time! Usually, as soon as the children are out of school they want a snack as well.  Planning for healthy options and then ensuring these options are on hand is essential in keeping us reaching for good choices! This small snack helps hold me (us) until dinner!

Better yet, we think we’ll defeat that after dinner sweet tooth without a plan.  Before I created a bedtime routine with my children, evenings were entirely stressful and every night brought about cravings for sugar to help me cope!  Go ahead and laugh or nod your head if this is you too!

I know there are nights I want to “treat” myself.  So, I planned and prepared these chocolate protein bites so that I would not forage the cabinets and derail my plan.

chocolate protein bites recipe

Friend, I’ll be sharing our snack combinations and ideas soon in another blog post!  I would love to hear your favorite combinations in the comments below!

The Meal Planning Kit for All Mommas

I know that this blog post is very quick and to the point.  I created a workbook to help my Momma Friends work through this entire process!

The premise: Give each family member a voice in the planning process to help them take ownership of the food that graces our table.

Set parameters around food choices to gently guide your family in making better and healthier choices for their favorite foods.

We save time and money (and mom brain power) when we take a few minutes each week to plan healthy and affordable choices for our families.

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The Meal Planning Kit for All Mommas

Planning Pages for:

  • Family Favorites
  • Monthly Layouts
  • Weekly Layouts
  • Daily Layouts

Clean Eating and Healthy Choices made easy with:

  • Grocery Shopping List
  • Blank Grocery Shopping List

Bonus Tips: 

  • plan for busy weeks
  • disguise veggies
  • makeover the leftovers.

All of this with a Spirit-lead approach to taking care of our bodies.

Pick up your copy today.

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MORE TOOLS FOR YOU

If you’re looking for more than just menu planning to get it together, sister, then I’ve got you covered.  

Since I have been simplifying my life, I have created some serious tools to help other mommas too.  After a LOT of prayer, I put together some simple guides to help you simplify the essentials of “mom-life” planning with Spirit-led strategies.  

mom basics bundle

This bundle is 3 FULL PDFs to get all the basic tools you need in one place:

  • Checklists + Budget Tips
  • Shopping guides
  • Menu plans + Food Lists
  • Chore charts
  • Setting Routines + Rhythms

 


MORE HELPFUL TOOLS

Sister, if you’re looking for more tips on how to simplify your life with a Spirit-led approach, I’ve got you covered!   When it comes to organizing our homes and our kitchens, I’ve got 2 awesome resources to help you!

1.| SIMPLIFY IN THE SPIRIT

Three of my favorite tools to simplify how + when to dig into the Word.  Resting at the feet of Jesus like Mary can be challenging to our Martha hearts.  When I implemented using these three tools, my life transformed.

They are free as a gift from my toolbox to yours.

simplify in the spirit

subscribe


2.| SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE

I created an action-packed download to help you create momentum to simplify your space and get you results.  I’m sharing what I’ve learned through years of moving (thanks, Army) reading, trial and error, and listening to the “experts” to craft a single document so that you can put your energy + effort where it needs to go:  YOUR SPACE.

I share my story here in The Beautiful Truth Behind Simplifying My Space because this part of the journey can be super challenging!

READ MORE HERE


IS SIMPLIFYING THE ANSWER FOR YOU?

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with life right now, know that you are NOT ALONE.  I know when I first began listening to this calling the Lord place on me, I was a little overwhelmed as to where to start.  As I’ve worked through this process, I’ve created tools to help women simplify their lives with a Spirit-led approach.

I WANT TO SHARE THE STEPS I TOOK TO GET STARTED:

In each of these blog posts, I share the parts of my journey in which I followed the lead of the Creator as He guided me to simplify my life.

1.|Sitting at the feet of Jesus to claim my identity as a Daughter of the King.

2.|Setting fierce boundaries around Christ-centered priorities.

3.|Reclaiming my mornings + creating a morning power hour to fill my cup.

4.| Getting my home together with rhythms + routines.

5.|Simplifying my Space to throw off all that’s hindering me to live as His handiwork.

Find more tools to encourage and help you here!start here

I know when I first began this part of my simplifying journey, I felt alone.  So, friend, I want to encourage you to share this on your favorite social media platform to encourage other women in their journey to seek simplicity in their homes and their lives, and in turn, know the peace and joy the Creator provides.
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With💛 from my toolbox to yours,
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Stephanie

Daughter of the King.
Veteran's Wife. Mother of Three Blessings.
Lover of Lemons, Salad, Coffee & the Simple Life
Learning to use the Mess to make His Message.

Binge Read for more blessings

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