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Family Binder: Food

This has probably been the hardest section of the family binder for me, and it is still a work in progress. For some reason, planning out our meals is so intimidating to me.

Growing up, around 4:00 someone would wonder what's for dinner, and then we'd figure it out from there. I always joke that we had a 5 meal rotation, and I think that's the cause of the intimidation. We had ingredients for those meals on hand.
I have decided I want to try a variety of different meals and experiment with cooking (to an extent). I don't mind having certain meals to fall back on, but it gets tiresome to have them over and over again.

Trying to stay on a budget also calls for meal planning.  You have to know what you have on hand to reduce the waste of what you buy and to plan for sales. With couponing, I have found that I stock up on sale items and then readily have them available for the meals I decide to make. Meal planning also allows me to make one trip to the grocery store a week, which also cuts down on needless spending. The more we're at the grocery store, the more we seem to need!

The first thing I created was a planning sheet for our meals. My boys seem to eat 24/7, so I like to know what we are having for every meal and snacks. This gives them a variety of food instead of reaching for their same favorites.
I originally filled this out on the computer. It never got done. I am now trying to print it out and write in the menu. As I said, this is still a work in progress!

Another challenge I have is remembering all of our different meal choices. I mark the recipes we try in my cookbooks, but then I have to go through them to find the ones we like. I want to have everything right in front of me to plan, so I made a sheet for each meal to list ideas, the cookbook, and the page number to find it. It took some time in the beginning to list all of our potential meals, but I think it will pay off to have it all together.
Menu Ideas

I also keep track of what I have in my pantry and freezer so that I'm not having to run back and forth as I plan.  These are hanging on the pantry door, so it is very easy to mark what we use.  I got these forms from Organized Home.
If you have any ideas that will make this section of the binder better or things that you have found success in using, please share them.

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