Don’t Become a Meal Time Monster

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Series: 10 Tips | A Little Organization Can Save You Time, Money and Sanity!

Number 7: Don't Become a Meal Time Monster!

Last time I shared how to Stop Tripping on Toys, Get Them Cleaned Up in Record Time! This post is all about how to avoid becoming a Meal Time Monster! You know, those days where you're exhausted, but the family is starring at you to make supper. It's easy to lash out at people and get grouchy! Your blood sugars are low and you're tired from the day.

Clean Mama Blog
Image sourced from cleanmamablog.

Part 1: Make a Recipe Binder

The CleanMama Blog talks about how to make a recipe binder, which is the first step to taming the Monster! As a Trained Professional Organizer, I agree! Here are 6 steps to success:

1. Toss the Old

Go through your stack of recipes and get rid of the ones that you never make, no one liked or you will never try. Be Ruthless! If you keep only the great ones, you'll love to use the book.

2. Gather the New

Find all those recipes you've been meaning to try; from Pinterest, emails, things saved on your computer... Print them all out so they are ready to be tried.

3. Choose Supplies

Find all those recipes you've been meaning to try; from Pinterest, emails, things saved on your computer... Print them all out so they are ready to be tried.

4. Decide on Categories

For the first 3 steps I completely agree with CleanMama. But here's where I would offer a new idea. CleanMama uses typical categories such as salad, appetizer and main dishes.

For meal categories I use Beginning, Middle & End of the Menu.

My binder is all about supper! The Beginning category is any recipe that has veggies that need to be used up quickly, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce or cucumbers. The Middle category has recipes that have more hardy veggies like carrots, broccoli, onion or potatoes. And the End Category has canned or frozen veggies. We'll talk more about this later.

5. Label

CleanMama likes to label with a label maker and then put those on the tabs. I personally like to handwrite them on. Whatever you chose, have fun and make it your own.

6. Test it Out

This step is easy! Use it and see what you think! The CleanMama blog leaves off here, but this is only Part 1 of 2 if you really want to eliminate the Meal Time Monster and have sanity in the kitchen you must be proficient at Part 2:

Part 2: Menu & Grocery List

In order to have everything to make the meals in your recipe binder, you will need to have a menu and grocery list!

The Menu

Now that you have your recipe binder. Grab your calendar, and just flip through the binder. When you find a meal you'd like to make, write it on your calendar. Be sure to make quick suppers for days with evening activities.

The Grocery List

Then, write the ingredients you need for each supper on your grocery list. I like to take stock of what we have in the house already, so that I'm not buying duplicates. (Read more about that in Stop Buying Duplicates, Organize Your Pantry Instead!) I also have a custom grocery list for Superstore which follows the way I walk through the store. That way I'm not hunting around for things.

I can often do a 2 week grocery haul in 1 hour!

With a little prep now, you can create a system that works for you! So you spend less time planning and shopping. Less money at the store because you're only buying what you need. And you can do it all in a calm manner! And that's the whole goal. Here is a quote I absolutely love!

Since I like to have a picture of the meal on every recipe page, it's also easy for the kids to help pick what meals they want to eat. That way they are involved and get excited about supper.

Happy menu planning!

Join us next time for Win the War on Incoming Papers! Setting up a simple system for your child's school paperwork and projects will keep the clutter down and help you save those precious works of art.

Have you missed any parts of this series? Catch up by browing the full list below!


Annalisa Sawatzky is a Pastor's wife and Mother of 2, who holds a Bachelor of Applied Design in Interior Design. Annalisa became a Trained Professional Organizer, and in 2012 started…

Learn more about Annalisa Sawatzky