I LOVE meal planning. Why? Because it saves me time and money. I may love to cook, but time just does not allow me to spend hours in the kitchen. I have other things that need to be done like running my business, taking care of my home, and thousands of other things go along with that.
Meal planning does not have to be a daunting task. What works for me might not work for you. All you need to do is follow my tips and use them in a way that best fits with your family. Pretty simple.
- Be organized. This may seem like common sense, but if your not organized you will not know what food is in your house. Make sure your pantry, fridge, and freezer are all organized. I like being able to open my pantry and seeing everything I have on hand. Makes meal planning a breeze.
- Keep staples on hand. If your family loves spaghetti make sure you always have noodles and sauce on hand. This way you will always have a quick "go to" meal.
- Cook once, eat multiple times. My favorite thing to do is make a crockpot rotisserie chicken during the beginning of the week. Then I have leftover chicken to make other meals with. Half of my work is done for me. This is also great for lasagna, casseroles, and soups. If you are making one, you might as well make 2 or 3. Then you have your very own convenience food ready to go in your freezer. Those store bought entrees are gross, filled with preservatives, and high in calories.
- Become friends with your Crockpot. I think Crockpots are so under rated. These things preform magic in the kitchen. They are perfect for any busy family. I love getting my crockpot meal ready the night before, put the insert in the fridge, and turn it on in the morning. I leave the house early some mornings and don't want to waste time prepping my food. Do it the night before!
- Base your grocery list off your meal plan. I like having my meal plan right along side my grocery list. I just jot it down on my list, so I can reference it and make sure I haven't forgotten anything.
- Have a central command center. It is really helpful if you post your meal plan where the entire family can see it. The fridge is a perfect spot for this, or you can steal my picture frame idea. This way you are sure to set out meat the night before, or prep a certain item the night before. It just saves time. Plus you won't have you kids (and husband) asking you what's for supper every day. They can just look at the list.
- Don't be a short order cook. Some people might enjoy this, but not me. I don't have time to make two separate meals. I make sure I plan meals everyone will like. If I'm trying a new recipe and we don't like it then that is what PB&J is for. :) Making one meal saves you both time and money.
- Set a grocery budget. We don't have a set budget, but I know generally how much we will be spending each week/month at the grocery store, butcher, and Sam's Club. It is like a game to me! Plus it keeps me from purchasing a bunch of junk we don't need.
- Allow one splurge item. This might not go directly with meal planning, but I think it is important. When you are grocery shopping allow yourself one item that isn't on your list. I will be honest...this week I had three items. But knowing I have one item to splurge on keeps me from going down every isle and filling my cart. Once I put my item in the cart that is it. I must now stick to my list the rest of the trip. (i.e. a package of cookies, a cake mix, brownies)
|$5 frame + Scrapbook paper + Wet Erase Marker = Meal Planning command center!|
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