Family Meal Planning seems like it’d take more time but it actually saves time, money, and stress. Check out my Beginner’s tips here.
I have been family meal planning for a couple years now. There are some weeks that I get too busy to plan and I always regret it later. I end up forgetting ingredients I need, not buying enough food, or spending way more than I wanted to. Hopefully these tips I’ve learned can help you achieve the benefits of meal planning.
First off, what do I mean by “meal planning”? This is where you take one day to plan all your meals over a certain period of time. Most people plan for one week, but you could also go further and do two weeks or a whole month. Meal planning saves time, money, and the stress of deciding what to make for meals each day. No more standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what you’re going to make for dinner!
If you are like me, a tired and busy mom, thinking of the recipes to make is the most difficult part. It’s hard for me to remember all the recipe options in my repertoire. If you have a recipe book or box, this may be a place you want to start. You can also make a list of your favorite recipes to keep on hand for when you do your planning.
My favorite is to use Pinterest to keep track of old and new recipes to make. I have boards set up for Appetizers, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Side Dishes, and Desserts. I pin to these boards frequently. When I start planning for the week, I check my boards to see what recipes I want to try or re-make. I also have a list of basics like hamburgers, tacos, baked chicken, etc.
The next step is to write out all the days you want to plan for and then what recipes you will be making on those days. You can plan all the meals each day or just certain ones.
Here’s what I do: I usually don’t plan out breakfast, except on weekends. Through the week I just keep basics on hand like eggs, oats, cereal, breakfast bars, etc. Everyone just grabs what they want each morning. Lunch is kind of a mix of keeping basics on hand and having leftovers from dinner the night before. I will also prep some items on Sunday that can be grabbed quickly for lunch like tuna salad, hard boiled eggs, seasoned chicken breasts, etc. Dinner is where I really plan and make sure I have a recipe for each night.
Once you have your recipes planned out for your chosen time period, you will need to make a shopping list. I always start with the basics that I need. Then I go recipe by recipe and list out any ingredients I need to purchase that I don’t already have.
Now that you have your plan and grocery list, you just need to purchase all the items needed. Of course, stuff happens and some days/weeks my plan gets off track. I try to always keep quick meals available if this happens.
If you are planning for more than a week at a time, buying in bulk may be easier and save you more money. I also like to look for discounts through grocery apps or their online coupons.
I hope that you found these tips helpful. I really enjoy meal planning and it has made life so much easier. How do you meal plan? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below.