You have wanted to try this whole meal-planning thing. But where to start? There are entire pinterest boards devoted to it, hundreds of blog posts, and tips all over. It’s overwhelming.
We’re going to start off easy. Slow. Just try it out and see how it works. Let’s plan for one week. That’s it. 7 days. You still with me? You can do it…Here we go!
- Begin by brainstorming a few meals your family loves. Something you’re comfortable with, something easy. Get about 7-8 on a list. Here are my choices:
- Ground Beef Tacos
- Grilled Cheeseburgers
- BBQ Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Potato Quesadillas
- Loaded Chef Salad
- Bean & Cheese Burritos
- Next, write out the week, even just on a piece of paper. Think about what your upcoming week looks like. Do you have soccer practice? A PTA meeting? Book Club? Pencil in any commitments you have, as well as keeping in mind what days may be particularly challenging. For example, if you know that Mondays are hard because you are running around, have meetings all day, and will get home late, you probably don’t want to commit to a dinner that will require much work out of you as soon as you walk in the door. Begin filling in the meals from your list. If your family eats leftovers (mine isn’t very good at that), double up one night, and voila! Two meals for the price of one!
- Look at your list and see if any can be “shared”. What I mean by that is, sometimes two meals can use the same proteins or side dishes. In our house, Tacos and Nachos are a shared meal. I cook the meat one night and use it both nights. Cook smarter, not harder. Make sure you give yourself a night for leftovers if your family is willing to eat them. We rarely have leftovers as we use them for our lunches (a great tip for those who get sick of sandwiches all the time!).
- Look at your menu and create your shopping list. Theoretically, this should be pretty quick as you are only making meals for the week. If it’s early enough, head to the store, take that list and get your shopping done!
- Get home and put your food away. If you need to break up your proteins into serving sized portions, go ahead and do that now. It takes a few minutes now, but saves you time later on in the week.
- Enjoy your meal plan!
Remember, it takes a little practice. It will get easier. It is SO worth it!