Gone are the days of wandering the grocery store every day trying to come up with an idea of what to feed the family for dinner, or scratching your head each morning trying to throw together your kids lunch.
Meal planning is a game changer and if you haven’t tried it yet, then you are missing out! While it can seem daunting to pull together all the meals for the week in one sitting, a few helpful tips and printables make the process simple, easy and fun.
Before starting the process make sure you have some time to focus on the task at hand. Pull up your Pinterest, grab a cup of coffee or wine, and pursue through your pantry and fridge to have an idea of what you have on hand. Then sit down with your print outs and a pen and get to work.
Think about your week ahead, or two weeks if you are a go getter. Do you have any nights you wont be eating at home? Any sport events, meetings, birthdays, etc.? Fill those in the week for the meal they apply too.
Next, start filling out the week with your families regular meals. Some people like to stick to a schedule to easily fill in the blanks and slightly modify the meals to keep it simple but not boring.
Monday: Mexican Food
Tuesday: Crock Pot Meal
Wednesday: New Recipe
Personally I just fill in with what we have in the fridge, a few new recipes, and what the family inputs for wanting for the week. We try to mix it up and keep it healthy. I have a Pinterest board for healthy recipes that I refer back to often for reminders of meals we have had and liked and ones we have been wanting to try. Personal tip? I write *PIN* next to the meal if it came off Pinterest to remind myself to refer back to it when making the meal.
Breakfast for us is usually the same, oatmeal or omelets. We usually have waffles and cereal on hand too for the kids. At this point I would just take stock on what we have and what we need and fill it on the grocery list.
Lunches are a different story. We meal prep, a lot, for the adults and kids on Sundays to make our mornings easier and to ensure we stay on track with healthy eating. The kiddos go to daycare and I keep a pretty standard format when planning their meals. Luckily they are close in age so I can give them the same thing with no issue. I try to split the week with a 3/2 split. Meaning 3 meals are the same, the other 2 are the same, then we space it out Mon/Wed/Fri, Tue/Thurs. This makes it easier for us during meal prep but also mixes it up for them. They also get a yogurt, fruit, and some sort of snack type item in their lunch. I love finding new ideas for them on Pinterest, but we do have a pretty regular rotation of food we know they will eat with out any trouble.
Adults get the same meals and we do the same 3/2 split as above. Usually for us it involves a lot of chicken and veggies, turkey meat balls (LOVE THESE), and different protein bowls. We are okay with eating similar things for lunch in order to keep with our clean eating plan, and our snacks are veggies, protein bars, and protein shakes. Pick snacks and items that you know you will eat and be happy with. No one wants to be half way through their work day and dreading the meal you packed yourself. At that point you will most likely go out to eat and waste the time you spent planning and prepping.
Now that you have a plan for what meals you will be eating its time to make sure you have all the ingredients. I go through each meal one at a time and look at the recipe or think about what is needed for it. Then it gets added to the correct spot on the grocery list. Yup, you read that right. I even organize my grocery list! If you haven’t done it before then you will thank me after your next trip. When you grocery list is organized by section it makes the trips to the store so much faster and easier. No more back and forth for the items you forgot, or have scattered across the piece of paper you bring with you.
Others have more sections in their lists, I try to keep mine simple. I hit the produce, then around to the meat and protein, center isle needs (canned goods/cereal/toiletries/etc) dairy, frozen section and then what ever else we need in MISC. We also hit two different stores some days. I either have two lists or will put a “C” for Costco or “KS” for King Soopers next to the item on the list to keep it organized.
Now that your list is done you are ready to go! I try to do my plan Friday night, grocery shop Saturday, meal prep Sunday. This schedule works for us as we work our 9-5s Monday to Friday. Pick a day and a schedule that works for you, if you need to do two weeks at a time then do it! For us a weekly basis and meal prep session works the best.
Get the meal planner sheet and grocery list sheet here!
Do you meal plan? Have any other tips and tricks to share with us? Comment below
Looking for a easy to follow workout plan to go with your new founded meal planning efforts? Check out my free 2 week workout plan that anyone can do here.
Or if you want to grab one of my pre-made meal plans check it out here.