Planning meals isn't the hard part for me -- it's remembering what I was planning so that I don't waste food. I finally found a solution!

Meal Planning

When I ‘m making out the grocery/provisioning list, or even when I’m at the store and decide to grab up a few extra things that look good, I have all sorts of ideas about what meals we’ll have.

The next afternoon, I’m totally blank when it comes to “what are we going to have for a snack?” and “what am I going to fix for dinner?” And I’ll end up making one of my standbys, totally forgetting the extra veggies I bought until after dinner. And then I vow to use them the next day. And the next. If I’m lucky, I remember before anything spoils.

I’ve tried keeping a list in a notebook or on the phone, and that just doesn’t work for me. I just don’t think to look at it.

But when I saw the whiteboard idea from Brittany and Jody that I wrote about in What’s In the Refrigerator?, I realized that was an idea that might work for me. A list right out where I could see it.

But where I wanted to put it is in a fairly narrow passageway in the galley. Not a lot of room for a regular whiteboard.

So I tried getting some white board stick-on sheets . . . but of course I didn’t want to stick them up permanently and thus left the backing on and taped them on. Not a good solution for two reasons: every time we walked by, we’d wipe off part of the list. And without being stuck on, the sheets started crumpling.

But then it hit me: right where we want the list, we have black plastic sliding doors. Could I find something that would just write on those and then somehow erase off when I wanted to, but not every time I walked by?

Yep. They’re called “wet erase markers” or “liquid chalk markers” and exactly what I wanted. They’re designed for writing on glass, car windows and the like (yeah, when I was a kid we decorated car windows with poster paint, explaining why I didn’t know about these). The write pretty much like a regular felt marker — you can get them in all sorts of tip sizes and colors — and once they dry, they won’t erase except with a damp rag. They can be used on any non-porous surface so they can even be used on Formica or gelcoat (test in an inconspicuous area first).

Perfect for posting my meal ideas and appetizers . . . as well as a to-do list!

Sometimes I’ll have alternate ideas about how I’ll use something — say a package of chicken breasts. So when I come back from the grocery store, I’ll write down several possible meals with them. But then when I use the last chicken breast, all the remaining ideas that use a chicken breast have to be erased too.

You can get chalk markers pretty much anywhere that craft supplies are sold — they run around $3 each (less for large multi-packs) and come in a huge variety of colors. I got mine on Amazon and later saw them at the local Dollar General.

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  • John Huft
    Posted at 04 August 2015 Reply

    Be sure to wash them all of every so often, like weekly or so. Leave them on for a couple of months and the next owner will be able to read them.

  • Tony Gariepy
    Posted at 04 August 2015 Reply

    I use a Google “Sheets” document, one tab has the menu ideas, next tab has all the things you need to buy. Planning/Shopping list. but it is internet dependent…

  • Jenn Bruning
    Posted at 07 August 2015 Reply

    Our galley is a pass through and has lots of blank wall on one side – the engine room below it. So my Captain made a couple of white boards. He went Home Depot and had them cut to size – we got some of those press on picture frame edges and he popped them in just using wood brads. They have been up for years now and we use them for upcoming maintenance jobs that need to be done, supplied needed/used, menus (and associated recipe notes), greetings for visitors-it really helps to keep us both organized.

  • Laine Common
    Posted at 29 July 2016 Reply

    I have my trusted notebook that serves me well, but the planning gets me. I try to plan a week at a time and find that when I get to about halfway through, whatever I planned sounds entirely unappetizing. I try to be flexible, but that only stalls the burn out for a day or two…

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 30 July 2016 Reply

      Instead of planning the meals day by day, I try to just list ideas that could work with what’s on hand and then choose something each day. Thus I can go with whatever seems most appealing. For example, I may list 3 or 4 things that I could make with the ground beef I bought, but once I use it up, all the ground beef items get erased from the list.

  • christina Gibson
    Posted at 22 March 2017 Reply

    I was think you could have stuck it to the Ceiling dry erase stuff. that way you then would just have to look up:) No wiping off.

  • Pamela Dakin Harwood
    Posted at 13 July 2017 Reply

    A paste of baking soda and water cleans up white boards that have started to get dingy/smudgy

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