So, like everyone else, the question of “What’s for dinner?” comes up a lot. Between homeschooling, domestic nonsense and my general inability to stay organized, I’m often down to the wire and calling up our favorite pizza place. Did I mention we got a Christmas card from them with a personal message inside? Yeah, that’s how you know when you order too much pizza. Time for a little menu planning!
Part of my ADHD is finding an organizational method that works. I have a million unused Daytimers, Dayrunners, mom planners and calendars. I have all the best intentions in the world, and will spend hours (days!) setting up systems that I ultimately will never use because they don’t fit my style.
Until I got my iPhone. The fact that I can integrate everything Google into it works for me. I have a widget with my Google calendar on the front screen, reminders to email me or SMS me, everyone’s schedule on there, it’s fantastic. Even if you don’t have a smart phone, you can set it up to just send you a text reminder. No cell phone at all? Have it email you. No internet? Well, uhh, how are you reading this then?
But I just realized I could also be using it to keep my menu planning (or lack thereof) under control.
What I did was pull out my recipe box/binder full of standby things our family likes. Then I went into my Google account and set up a new calendar called “meals” (you can call yours anything you like - I won’t peek!) Then, I went in and set up a rotation of things we normally like to eat. For example, we always have spaghetti on Monday. I don’t know why, but I think it goes back to when I was working full time when we first got married. Dealing with a Monday after a nice weekend left me totally pooped by 5pm, so it was always easy to throw spaghetti on. Anyway, I digress. So, I set up the next coming Monday with the event titled “spaghetti” and then set it to repeat every week on Monday. We eat dinner at 6pm every night (one of my OCD habits) so I have it send me a text 9 hours before the event (which is 9am) to remind me of what we’re having.
Then I went through some normal standby stuff like hot dogs, roast, tacos, etc. and set them up to repeat every 3 weeks. For me, that seems like a reasonable amount of time between them. I threw in some other family recipes, and left 1 day every week as a “freebie” day where I can try new recipes and we can decide if they’re going into the rotation. It will always be a work in progress as far as adding new things, but we will never again be wondering what we’re going to be having.
The other great thing about integrating this with your normal Google family calendar (which I recommend you use anyway — you can share it with your hubby or kids so everyone knows the schedule at any given time) is that you can see both calendars overlapping at the same time. When you have an event that might result in not eating at home that night you don’t shop for that dinner’s ingredients that week. You can also put your recipes right in the notes area on each day!