Meal planning can sound so overwhelming if it is not something you have already incorporated into your weekly routine. I wanted to write a quick post to explain the quick meal planning process I have been using lately. There is nothing exciting or magical about my method, but it gets the job done!
I usually try to meal plan early on Sunday mornings. Our weeks tend to go much smoother if we have meal planned and grocery shopped by Sunday. I use several different recipe websites to get motivation for what to include in our weekly meal plans. I will link some of my favorite sites below. I also tend to repeat things often. If I recorded my meal plans in the same place each week, I would probably see several repeat recipes every few weeks! To get started, I do some quick recipe searches and determine what sounds good for the week. I also take into consideration how much time we will have on the weeknights to prepare the meals. I usually get home from work around 6:30 or 7:00, so my husband will often be the one who starts prepping dinner. He also has later meetings some nights, so I know I need something extra quick on those nights! Once I have considered all the things above, I make a new note in my phone and type our menu for each night of the week. I try to make sure that each meal has a protein, fat and carbohydrate in addition to veggies! I am a big advocate of all things in moderation and do not follow any specific eating plan. For example, if I find a great recipe for chicken in the crock pot that already includes veggies, I will try to add some form of carbohydrate to round out the meal. In addition to our dinner meals, I plan our breakfast and lunch meals the same way. Breakfast and lunch seem to be pretty repetitive through the week which no one seems to mind!
I then use this menu to create a grocery list. I typically try to write my grocery list in the order that I will find things in the store. I recently started doing Walmart online grocery ordering where you just pick things up when they are ready. This has been a game changer for me! It is so nice not having to bring a 3-year-old into the grocery store with you! It also probably saves us a lot of money because I would inevitably add a lot of items that looked appealing to our basket.
Once I pick up our groceries, I make sure we have pulled any meats from the freezer that we need for the week. We have been doing large Costco shopping trips every few months to stock up on items including ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast, soups, cheese, eggs, milk, cereal, canned good and snacks. This also makes our weekly grocery lists smaller.
As you can see, I don’t spend a ton of time creating an elaborate meal plan for us! But, it makes such a huge difference to just get things mapped out for the week. I have included our meal plan from this week below so you can see one example of meal planning. My advice is to find your own method and stick with it! Don’t go overboard with time consuming meals on weeks that you know you will be short on time. You need to do what works best for you and your family!
Here are a few recipe websites that I use and love:
I also get a lot from random websites that I find on Pinterest!
Do you have any unique meal planning tips?!?