5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier

5 Steps to Make Meal Planning Easier

 

Meal planning is an easy way to save time, reduce stress, and manage money when it comes to deciding what to serve for dinner every night. It doesn’t need to be an overwhelming, drawn out process. If you’re thinking about getting started with meal planning, make sure you check out the following list of tips and tricks to help you get started on the right track.

1.Keep Your Plan Flexible

Though you might be tempted to create a meal plan for an entire month, consider keeping your plan short and flexible — especially if you’re just starting out. Make meal planning easier by taking it just a little bit at a time. If you plan your meals for the week or even just a few days in advance, you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy some creativity with your cooking and satisfy any craving you or your kids might have. 

Garden Fresh, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

My sister-in-law is a great meal planner and I often look to her for an example of how to do my own meal planning. Every Sunday evening she picks out dinners for the coming week.

2. Take a Look at Your Schedule

As you sit down to create your meal plan, it helps to look at your upcoming schedule so you know what else you have to do that week. For instance, does one kid have soccer practice on Monday while the other has music lessons on Wednesday?

You know you’re going to need quick prep meals on certain days of the week, while you can make more time intensive meals on others. When you know what events you have going on throughout the week, you’re able to make a better plan for dinner. 

Perhaps you make two servings on Sunday so everyone can have leftovers on Monday. You can then plan a slow-cooker meal for Wednesday so dinner is waiting by the time everyone gets home.

Green Chile Casserole

3. Make Your Plan Before You Go Grocery Shopping

After you know what you have going on that week, it’s time to create your meal plan. Make meal planning easier by planning ahead. You’ll want to make your plan before you go to the grocery store so you can have a list of everything you need to pick up for that week.

As you’re making your plan, keep in mind every item you need for each meal. For example, if you’re planning on broiled chicken breasts, vegetable medley, and wild rice, you’ll need to make sure you have the chicken, spices, rice, vegetables, and any oils or seasonings for cooking.

A simple Meal Planning Notepad like this one can make the task so much simpler.

4. Use Fresh Produce and Meat Early

You want to try to use your proteins and fragile vegetables, such as spinach and green beans, soon after you buy them. You can then use hardier vegetables, like sweet potatoes and cauliflower, at a later time.

Not only will eating your meat and produce early help ensure that they’re fresh, it also guarantees that you’re getting the proper timing for meals recommended by LifeSum to live a healthier lifestyle.

Spartan Kids Race, Eden Utah

As a bonus, if you’ve worked out earlier in the day, that lean protein will help refuel your body.

5. Do Your Prep Work in Advance

Chances are good that when dinnertime rolls around you’ve already put in a long day. That’s why it’s a good idea to get the prep work done for your meal in advance.

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussel Sprout Sheet Pan Dinner

That morning, slice and divide up all of your portions so you can start cooking right away. If your children are older, recruit them to help you out. If you don’t have time to prep in the morning, you can do two to three days of food prep in a single evening.  Depending on what’s on the menu, this can save you a lot of time!

If you’re looking to incorporate meal planning to relieve some stress from your busy life, these tips will help you get started.

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About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Peaceful Parenting, and Family Travel.

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