Menu Board: The kitchen's answer to a capsule wardrobe!
How good does it feel when you finally get around to finishing that project that has been sitting in the corner for over a year? I can tell you it feels AMAZING. Aaaaaand .... you're not the only one with a project in your corner that's been sitting there for a year. Just saying.
I have been looking at my half finished menu board for the 12 months, sitting in the corner, gathering dust. Daily I'd recognise how my life would be that much easier if I would just do it already. It wasn't a complicated project or anything - glue down some fabric, attach some pegs and hang in the kitchen. What was wrong with me????
Well to start, I had no idea what to write on those meal planning cards. Because of my habit of making things more complicated than they need to be, and so instead of just starting with meals we eat regularly, I wanted to fill out those cards with meals that would make my meal plan Pinterest-worthy. I was going for awesomely beautiful, healthy, well balanced meals. Then reality finally knocked on my door. I have three kids of divers ages with (naturally) three totally different palates. I finally surrendered my ideas for Buddha bowls and Quinoa and Kale salads as part of the weekly rotations.
And then I just sat on it. As if in defiance of my three-year old refusing to eat quinoa and kale. If she won't do it, then I won't make a menu board.
But, luckily I am a somewhat rational creature after giving myself a bit of time to accept this. I reframed my frustration and have accepted the stage of life we are all currently in. With the help of our weekly meeting that I mentioned earlier in the week, we have started to meal plan together as a family. This means the pressure is off me and we are choosing meals that most of us will eat. The meal planning alone makes our family meeting so worth it. The road block has been lifted and I have finally been able to finish that menu board. Yay!!!
I have also let go of trying to plan out two meals per day and stuck to just our main lunch time meal. As an Aussie who was used to a hot dinner, moving to a hot lunch has been an adjustment. But now I am embracing the Swiss way and making dinner time a lot simpler. Enjoying a simple dinner of bread, meats and cheese or perhaps an empty the fridge salad, or our current favourite homemade Bircher Müseli makes the evening SO much less stressful. There are fewer dishes and less mess. And more time to actually sit down and relax. Once in awhile.
So with the menu board now finished (see how I made it below) and our weekly meal planning sessions in place, I am no longer standing in front a full fridge not knowing what to cook (sound familiar pre minimalism wardrobe???). I have cut our food was down to a minimum, and by the end of the week, our fridge is looking empty. My decision fatigue isn't paralysing my ability to make a meal decision because we are making them together as a family on Sunday.
I think we will have to call meal planning, the kitchen’s answer to a capsule wardrobe!
Have I convinced you that meal planning as a family is the way forward? Maybe its time for you to make your own menu board. It is simple to do.
HOMEMADE MENU BOARD
Disclaimer: You don’t need to go out and buy supplies especially for this project. Try and source your items from around the home. Or try borrowing supplies like the hot glue gun from you friends, before heading out and buying new.
Large piece of strong thick cardboard(I used the Valbekant large clipboard from Ikea that I had around the house which seems to of been discontinued. But any large thick cardboard will do.)
Wipeable material (such as oilcloth) to cover your cardboard cut to a larger size
Hot glue gun
Wooden Pegs (7 for 7 meals)
Notecards (as many as meals you make)
Cut your wipeable material a bit larger than the cardboard you are using to make sure it can wrap around the cardboard.
Stretch the material across the cardboard and glue the sides of the material on to the back to secure
Measure out where you want each menu card to go with the pegs attached before glueing. This will help you have evenly spaced cards. If you want the days of the week written on the peg, do that before you secure the peg.
Glue down the pegs in place
Write your meals ideas on to the cards and use the peg to secure them.
It really is that simple. No need to go and buy something specific, I had all the material lying around the house for the project .
Tip: If you are using the hot glue gun for the first time I found that glueing both the peg and where the peg was to be positioned was needed to make sure the peg stayed stuck down. The first time I glued just the peg and it didn’t stick very well.
Tip for the menu cards: Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. Write the cards as you meal plan each week and in a month you will already have a good collection of cards that you can start using over and over again. Or simpler still, write the cards as you cook each week, you will know what you all like and then it will be easier to start meal planning.
Don’t make this project any more complicated than it needs to be. It has to be first and foremost functional and you want to be using it as soon as possible to make your life easier, not letting a big daunting project sit there for over 12 months.
If you need more inspiration, I have put together a Pinterest board with some other great menu board in ideas.