Meal planning is something I have a love/hate relationship with.
I love how meal planning saves me $$, time, and energy. I hate how hard it is to plan a meal to work into my families crazy schedule, and how easy it is to just go off schedule for what you have planned for a meal and just do whatever you feal like at the moment.
I admit first hand, every time I’ve been pregnant I basically throw the entire meal planning idea out the window ( NO I’M NOT PREGNANT) and end up eating whatever I’m craving that day, but that gets expensive and time consuming.
I am by no means an expert ( or even close). But, I have been meal planning for 4 years, I have tried ALOT of different methods, ideas, and systems, and here is what is currently working for me.
I menu plan for evening and weekend meals. For lunch we will often have leftovers or other kid friendly meals (for the kids and myself).
5 Helpful Hints for Meal Planning
I’m not sure I have mentioned it yet, but I LOVE MY PLANNER (see below.) It has my life in a nutshell. It includes my families schedule/planner, meal plan, and to do list all in one book. Makes meal planning a lot more manageable.
For Example: Monday nights #1 has dance class and we get home right before supper. Therefore, therefore I will often have something REALLY easy or a crock pot meal.
Before I discovered my planner, I also tried using: a calendar that I had got for free (just wrote supper for that day in the respective calendar square), my Iphone calendar (or any smart phone calendar would work) did the same thing that I did for the calendar, and using a basic piece of notebook paper that I was able to label numbers & dates.
4. Use what you have in stock
I enjoy (and save money) stocking up on commonly used items when they are on sale. We also garden throughout the summer to build up a nice collection of vegetables,fruits, sauces, jellies, fillings, etc. to help ease our grocery budget throughout the year. This helps save both time and money. Using items that are already in your fridge, freezer, shelves or cupboard is an easy way to save time, and easy way to save a little $$ on the grocery budget.
3. Plan using the sale ads.
This one is definitely not needed but it will definitely help save money.
2. Pick the favorites
Yes, a total no brainer pick foods your family & yourself enjoy preparing and eating so you don’t dread that meal.
1. Keep it simple.
It is more than ok to want to cook like Betty, Martha, Rachael, or The Pioneer Woman but NOT every single meal, and total props to you if you can. DO NOT put that pressure on yourself. Honestly, I tend to avoid even start making a recipe that I know is going to take a lot of work.
High expectations = stressed out = EPIC FAILURE