Meal Planning Rhythm

Meal planning is an idea that I have tried on and off since living on my own, but it’s never really stuck. I’m not the most organized person, so it was hard to be disciplined enough to stick with it. But I am trying something new, and it seems to be helping.

If you read any Waldorf education literature or blogs, you know that one of the things that they are always talking about it Rhythm. Having a rhythm to your days and weeks and seasons and years. I’m not so good at that either. Working for myself and my son not going to school means that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want. Although in practice, we do tend to have the same routine, day-to-day.

The Dominos Pizza in our town has a special deal on Wednesdays for a $4 medium pizza. If I eat something else too, a medium splits very nicely between the two of us. It’s also nice to have a break from cooking, so I usually run errands right up until dinner on Wednesdays, so we can pick up the pizza on our way home. Thus Wednesday is Pizza Day.

Saturday mornings have always been Pancake (french toast or waffle day), and lately I’ve been making a sweet dessert type breakfast thing on Sunday mornings. These days were going well, so I decided to extend the idea to every other day of the week.

I had heard designating each day of the week to a certain type of meal before, but I hadn’t worked it into our life very well. After all, as vegetarians, we couldn’t have chicken night and beef night, etc. But this time, I think I worked out a schedule that we can actually stick to.

Monday is mashed potato and muffin day. We have some sort of a lot of green vegetables with the potatoes. This is one of our favorite meals. Last night we had the first potatoes from our garden, and they were amazing. I also very lightly steamed some swiss chard and kale from our garden to go with them, and made carrot raisin muffins.

Tuesday is soup and bread day. I make some kind of soup and 2 loaves of homemade bread: one plain and one cinnamon raisin.

Wednesday is Pizza Day! (Caleb’s favorite day of the week.) I generally have something else with this like a big salad.

Thursday is stir fry and rice night. This encompasses any vegetable dish that goes over rice-stir fry, curry, anything really.

Friday is Mexican night. Enchiladas, chili, tacos, etc.

Saturday is pasta night. I make lasagna once a month with homemade noodles, and freeze half for another week. Other than that it’s whole wheat spaghetti and broccoli or rigatoni with pasta sauce for my son.

Sunday is cookout night. In the summer that means veggie burgers. In the winter, it generally means something warmer like chili and/or potatoes. I make a fire in our backyard firepit with my wood scraps. The paper towels from wiping off the excess oil and beeswax from my toys make excellent fire starters.

This rhythm has been working well for us the past couple of weeks. I took the things we regularly eat anyway, and assigned them days. We have enough variety, since we are changing the exact meal every week, but it takes the deciding out of dinner time. Even if I haven’t planned out a meal. All I have to do is think of some kind of soup or mix up some vegetables to go over rice.

Does anyone else do this? What are your categories? Does anyone do this for all 3 three meals?

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7 thoughts on “Meal Planning Rhythm

  1. Establishing rhythm is the Waldorf idea I struggle with the most. I’ve tried meal planning also but it only lasted for a week or two. We’re good with bedtime and morning rhythms but, like you, I’m home with my son and our days are pretty flexible. Our family transitioned from vegetarian to vegan about six months ago. We may have to give meal planning another try. It would be a lot easier for everyone if we had some sort of plan! Is there a book or website on unschooling that you recommend?

  2. We are slowly venturing our way into the meal planning world. Breakfast is easy for us because we are late risers (I work 4 to midnight and my children sleep in so I can get the proper rest I need) so it usually consists of cereal or a granola bar on the go. As part of home school, my son has started planning lunches a week at a time and learning how to prepare them. I am still in charge of dinner, which can be difficult since I am away from the home for four of them. I will usually prepare dinner when I am home and two days of the week I will prepare a casserole or slow cooker meal for them to eat while I am at work. The other two days, we have a babysitter for two hours each day who makes this kids dinner. Over the next few weeks, we will work on establishing a more solid meal plan, but the rhythm has started falling into place as we have adjusted to home schooling.

  3. We also do Pizza night-on Friday and pancakes or waffles on Sat. morning. Taco Salad is usually another night but I need to fill in the other days. Thank you for your great ideas!

  4. I don’t have a day for each type of meal. Once a week I sit with a few cookbooks and write down what I’m going to cook that week. I plan only 5 meals, then we eat leftovers or improvise or eat out occasionally. Sometimes the kids help me choose.
    Over the years I found it useful to keep a list of what I cooked, one page per month. When I run out of ideas or am tired of eating the same things al the time I look at what I was cooking in previous month or at the same time in previous years. It helps remind me of forgotten favorites.

    I used to have categories (Fish, meat, soup, pasta, beans,…) and I sorted my recipes (or just titles for meals requiring no recipes) per category. It made selecting meals easier.

  5. Sunday: dinner at my parents
    Monday: chicken
    Tuesday: beef
    Wednesday: dinner at church
    Thursday: crockpot meal
    Friday: Pizza
    Saturday: dinner at the inlaws

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