6 Easy Tips to Help You Start Meal Planning for the Week
Real talk…How many of you busy mamas actually meal plan for the week? I was one of those people who didn’t meal plan, I was constantly stressed out about what to make and often times would stare at an open fridge trying to figure out what I could cook with the ingredients I had.
I was literally wasting more time doing this than if I had taken the time to meal prep.
This blew my mind when I heard it but what if I told you that if you spent 45 minutes meal planning in ONE day you would save HOURS of time a week!
Here are some easy steps to help you start your meal planning journey:
1. BE RESOURCEFUL
First be resourceful and take stock of what you already have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry and jot it down on a piece of paper. See what meals you can come up with by making use of ingredients you already have on hand.
Maybe you have a lot of veggies and can make a stir fry dinner, or veggie quesadillas!
2. CHECK YOUR SCHEDULE
Before you start writing the meals of the week, I highly recommend checking your schedule for the week.
There are times when my kids have sports or music lessons in the evening so on those busy nights I always plan meals that can be prepped ahead of time and can be thrown in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
I try to be as hands off as I can so when we come home after a tiring day, dinner is ready to go!
3. WRITE DOWN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK AND GROCERY ITEMS YOU NEED
Next jot down the dinners you plan to make everyday (our Farie + Four Meal Planning Board is PERFECT for that) along with the list of grocery items you need to do so. This will save you time by eliminating unnecessary trips to the grocery store trying to get last minute items for you dinner.
Don’t forget to look online and at your grocery store app for money saving coupons. Another pro tip: group all your produce items together, your meats, your dairy and so on.
No one wants to waste time by darting back and forth through the aisles of the grocery store with a toddler that insists on pushing the cart or adding unnecessary items to it! (is it just my toddler who does that?)
4. DOUBLE UP SISTA!
Plan meals that can double up as lunches for school, work, or at home the next day. For example your roasted chicken leftovers that you made on Monday could be used to make chicken enchiladas on Tuesday. You could use the stock from the roasted chicken and make soup on Wednesday, and so on.
5. PREP PREP PREP
Spend time prepping ingredients. If you know you have a crazy week ahead, or are like me and hate spending your precious time in the kitchen, I highly recommend prepping your ingredients in advance.
I don’t prep a lot of ingredients in advance, but if I know how many meals require veggies, I will take the time to cut them all up and store them in my fridge. That way when a recipe calls for it, I already have it ready!
6. SAVE THOSE CHICKIE NUGGIES!
My last tip: Organize your recipes! If you made something everyone really loved, then make sure you print out the recipe or write it down! There are many meal planning apps out there.
One of my favorite apps to use is Emeals and Evernote which already has a meal planning template ready to use and you can use it to collect, store, and organize your recipes.
Time is a precious commodity us busy mamas don’t have much of. I promise you, It’s not that hard.
Starting this week, get your head in the game, take some time out of your day, and start listing the meals you want to make for the week.
You got this! (You can thank me later)