Sit up from your slumber and raise your hand if this sounds like your life?
Or maybe this instead?
Meal planning is not fun. I don’t care what kind of crazy Richard Simmons-esque person you are
Pinterest is fun, until you realize you’ve spent the entire nap time clicking on recipes, which have somehow lead you to seriously considering making that centerpiece for a dining room table you can’t even find because it’s hidden under toys.
Although meal planning is a chore for most, it is essential for feeding your family clean foods and not racking up a $3000 grocery bill only to throw away $2950 of it. Here are some tips:
1. Keep a meal jar. Have your family members write down their favorite meals and put them in a jar, on a marker board in the kitchen, etc. Somewhere you can visibly see. This is your go-to for meals. When you sit down to start planning, pull from this to start.
2. Make a goal of adding one meal to the jar each week, two weeks, month, etc. Give yourself an excuse to spend 5-10 minutes on Pinterest searching for new recipes. Pick one and ONLY click on it (if you can do this, share your tips). If you cook it and it’s a keeper, jar it.
3. Pick a meal planning day and stick to it. I usually meal plan on Saturday afternoons during the girls’ nap time. Supplies needed- your current inventory, your ENTIRE FAMILY’S week’s calendar, the weather, your meal jar and the newspaper. Know what you already have and need to use before it starts growing mold. Know when Johnny has a baseball game and you need something quick. Know when hubby is not home and you can just eat chocolate with a glass of wine 😉 . Know the weather- if it’ll be 95 and sunny, don’t plan that crockpot soup creation that looks so tempting on Pinterest. Know what’s on sale the upcoming week.
4. Write down which days of the week you’ll have each meal. Obviously, don’t try a new recipe out on days you’re rushing from one practice to the next. If you’re able to go to the grocery store twice during the week, this will help you decide what to buy round one and which to save for round 2.
No, I don’t actually do this. it’s more of a non-stick Post-it note that Gentry has scribbled all over on. But you can continue to think I do this every week.
5. Write down the ingredients needed for each meal. Be specific… 4 chicken breasts, 2 bananas, 3/4 cup of quinoa (who doesn’t eat quinoa?!). This will be the money saver right here.
6. Write down any prep you can do beside each meal. Chop onions, slice acorn squash, bake potato, etc.
7. Pick a shopping day and stick to it. Give your hubby an Excedrin and turn on Sprout. He can make it through your excursion sans kids. Tell him I said you need AT LEAST 2 hours alone. If there is a nail salon close by, score. DON’T FORGET YOUR LIST AND COUPONS.
8. Prep. Give your hubby another Excedrin and do the prep from #6. This is probably the most helpful. Be realistic about the prep though. Don’t cook a potato on Sunday and expect it to still be good by Friday. DO dice vegetables, cook beans or grains, make dressings, spice meat, etc. DO store things in air tight containers. *I buy chicken breasts in bulk from Whole Foods. Because I meal plan, I take out what I need for the upcoming week and freeze the rest. Saving $ but not wasting $.*
9. Execute. Keep your list of what you are eating each night somewhere visible (fridge, pantry, forehead). Each night while you are cooking dinner, check the next night’s plan and see if there’s anything you can cook (meat, vegetables).
10. Bonus. Don’t just make 4 servings for your family of four. Make 6 servings and then VIOLA, lunch for you and the hubby the next day.
Try this on your own! If you need help, I’m always available for coaching and have “Dinner Made Easy” plans available for purchase! Details HERE.
Do you meal plan?