My meal planning needs help

I’ve been employing the use of meal planning for a while now — meaning that I sit down and decide what we’re having for dinner (and sometimes lunch) every day for two weeks at a time.  It has a few kinks.  One of them being that in the beginning if plans changed, I sort of freaked out.  I’m not a fan of change.  I’m not a fan of things going off schedule.  But, I learned to relax, especially when I realized I was literally getting angry at my husband if he didn’t want to eat what I had decided a week ago we were supposed to have for dinner that night.  Not cool.

This is my current meal calendar. (It only has the first two weeks in April; today is my day to update it.) I like having it printed on the side of the fridge with new recipes clipped behind it. I need a good solution, though, to make it more adaptable to each day. However, I also still want to be able to post it on the fridge and electronically so my husband can access it (this is a shared Google Calendar with him). Suggestions?

Now I’m sort of the other way.  I have this meal plan.  I build my grocery list around it, but it changes up all the time.  I don’t think a week ever goes by that it doesn’t shift at least once if not more often.  Maybe we don’t want what I have scheduled.  Maybe somebody is sick.  Maybe my husband had a business lunch and isn’t hungry for dinner.  Maybe we have errands to run and I just don’t have time to cook.

So, I’m rethinking my meal planning.  I still want to meal plan because it does make life easier in many ways.  I get to major grocery shop in one fell swoop for two weeks (minimal grocery shopping trips with a toddler in tow is a good thing).  It saves me money, because I’m not buying lots of food we don’t need.  It saves waste, because I use up ingredients before they go bad.  It gives me a clue as to what to make when dinner time rolls around.  There are lots of benefits I enjoy.

However, I feel like I’m wasting my time since it’s constantly shifting, so I’m rethinking the whole process.  Right now I’m thinking of making a list of possible meals indicating what has fresh ingredients and needs to be eaten by a certain date.  Then each day we can pick what works best that day.  I’m also realizing that I need to plan in some easy-to-prepare meals.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s not major scratch cooking going on around here.  I don’t have time for that.  But, I need things that maybe are frozen and can be heated up to feed us.  Sometimes I have shied away from these things because I really do worry about their healthiness.  (And, yes, I know I can make and freeze my own food; I just haven’t done that, yet.)  However, I’m realizing that if I don’t have solid back-up plans for nights I don’t feel like or have time to cook then we end up eating fast food or ordering pizza.  And neither of those options are all that healthful, even with making good decisions like skipping fries and eating fruit.

And this is where you come in.  I’m looking for suggestions as I’m rethinking my meal planning layout.  What do you do?  What works best for your family?  Sometimes I tend to over-complicate things.  Many, many times I will figure out a plan for a household chore or duty and my husband will come along and streamline it within minutes.  He’s good at that; I’m not.  This, however, isn’t one of his fortes.  I also know I’m not the first person to deal with this.  People have been feeding their families for years.  I don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  What suggestions do you have?  How do you plan and not go crazy about it?  And while you’re at it, what are some of your favorite go-to meals for when you don’t have the time, desire or energy to actually cook?

Help!

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