I am totally one of those people who love to MEAL PLAN each week. In fact, I actually consider reading through cookbooks one of my favorite hobbies! I guess I’m just strange like that 😉
If you are unlike me and meal planning is NOT one of your favorite things to do, then it can be a difficult task. Some of you don’t have a clue where to begin in the meal planning process, or how to do it well, so I am going to walk you through my Meal Planning 101 process to help you begin to implement your own strategy for meal planning.
Meal planning has SO many benefits for you and your family.
Here are my personal top 3 reasons to meal plan:
- Save time by prepping meals ahead of time and eliminating the need to rummage through your pantry to find something to feed your family at dinner time
- Save money by only buying the items you actually need for your meals
- Eliminate stress by planning ahead for dinner during busy weeknights
So with that in mind, I’m going to share with you my simple meal planning process:
I first need to say that your meal planning process should take no more than 15-20 minutes. It’s gotta be quick and it’s gotta be simple so that you will actually do it each week.
- First, I grab my planner to see what my family’s schedule looks like for that week (i.e. Are we having friends over? Will we be going out one night?, etc.)
- Second, I open my recipe binder which is full of my family’s favorite recipes (and some NEW recipes that I’d like to try too!). I make sure to choose 2 family favorite recipes, 3 quick and easy recipes, and 2 new recipes that I’d like to try. It’s all about simplicity.
- Third, I pull out the recipes I want to make for that week, corresponding with the schedule in my planner, and I put those recipes in the front pocket of my recipe binder.
- Fourth, I write in my planner which meals I am going to make for each day of the week and I also post my meal plan on my fridge for my family to see.
- Fifth, I make my grocery list! I make sure to check my fridge and pantry for items I already have so I don’t double-buy anything. And voila! That’s it!
Develop your own meal planning strategy (or steal mine!)
Each person and each family is different so your meal planning process may vary slightly. However, after years of meal planning for my family of 5, I have found that THIS particular process has been PERFECT for me. Meal planning is all about SIMPLICITY. Make it easy on yourself. Make it a habit.
What about meal prep?
Meal prep is the next stage in the meal planning process. Again, this has to be SIMPLE. I have a post on How to Meal Prep in Less than 30 Minutes that breaks down my own meal prep process. There is a quick, efficient and smart way to meal prep that should take very little time, but still makes a HUGE impact on your meals and the time you spend making them during the week.
For some excellent meal planning tips, check out my post on The 10 Best Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families. You will learn in more detail how to plan your actual meals throughout the week, what mistakes to avoid, and how to save more time and money. These tips will help make sitting down with your families for meal time a more peaceful and enjoyable experience, and will help take the stress out of inviting friends over for dinner as well. 🙂
Are you ready to meal plan for this week now?
I hope so! If you’re feeling encouraged but are still not quite ready to plan your week of meals, I would love to help you by giving you a FREE gift of my “One Week of Dinners” eBook! What could be a better way to launch your meal planning strategy than for someone to provide your first week’s meal plan for you?! It’s the perfect way to get your feet wet.
All of the recipes in my eBook have tons of flavor and fit “clean eating” preferences, AND to make your week of meal planning even easier this eBook comes with a complete printable grocery list! All for FREE. 🙂
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THIS FREE “ONE WEEK OF DINNERS eBook?”
- A ONE WEEK MEAL PLAN
- 5 INCREDIBLE DINNER RECIPES THAT EACH TAKE 30 MINUTES OR LESS
- A FULL PRINTABLE GROCERY SHOPPING LIST FOR REAL INGREDIENTS (NOTHING WEIRD!)
- A FREE PASS TO NOT PLAN DINNER FOR A WEEK! WHOO HOO!
HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT YOU?
- SAVE TIME BY HAVING YOUR MEALS PLANNED OUT FOR YOU
- SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES FOR THE WEEK BY PLANNING AHEAD AND MAXIMIZING INGREDIENTS
- RECEIVE ONE WEEK’S MEAL PLAN THAT YOU CAN USE OVER AND OVER AGAIN THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
- ALL OF THESE MEALS ARE BASED ON CLEAN EATING AND WHOLE FOODS, SO YOUR HEALTH (AND TASTE BUDS!) WILL THANK YOU
I hope this helps with the organization of your week and that you and your family truly enjoy these yummy meals! And for the future, feel free to reference my meal planning 101 process to help you develop your own meal planning process! Be blessed, friends!