How many times have you heard “what’s for dinner?” In my household that was an everyday question and it got old very fast. As my children got older and moved on to college, meal times became less planned and more quick and convenient. This affected our budget and our health because we ended up eating fast food. Meal planning doesn’t have to be a struggle if you plan ahead. It is not always easy especially when you have no idea where to start and it can be very intimidating and overwhelming.
I have learned a few simple tips along the way with my meal planning and I had to share.
- Find out what your family likes to eat. Knowing is half the battle and then you can start looking through recipes and get ideas of meals to make.
- Keep it simple. Life gets busy and sometimes it’s hard to come home from work and fix an elaborate meal. Save the new recipes and 7 course meals for when you have more time.
- Have a theme night. One night a week make it a fun night for tacos, pasta, burgers or pizza. This breaks up the week and it’s a dinner everyone can look forward to.
- Keep track of meals. Having my meals written down in my planner allows me to look back at previous weeks and get ideas for planning for the future. This way I won’t be severing spaghetti every week and I can mix it up a bit.
- Plan and shop on the same day each week. Make a habit of a certain day to be your meal planning day. Create a shopping list to save time and money on the items you buy. If you know what you already have in your pantry for planning meals, it helps with the budget and prevents duplicating items that will take up extra space in your pantry.
- Look at the sales ads and coupons. Take the extra time to do this and it can help with your shopping list. Who doesn’t like getting things cheaper with a coupon?
- Prep the food for your meals when you get home from shopping. If you take the extra time to prep your veggies and other items, it will help save time when it comes to creating the actual meal.
- Plan for leftovers. If you know your lasagna serves 10 people and only 4 of you are eating it, plan for the leftovers for the next day. It’s like having fast food from home.
- Make it fun. I like to add the On The Menu stickers from My Life Planners to my planner. It makes meal planning colorful and fun. Not to mention I have a desire to fill that box up so I know I will stay committed to planning out my meals.
Whatever method you use, I hope that these tips help make your meal planning smooth and painless. Taking the time to plan saves you time and headache in the end.