Tired of the dreaded “What’s for dinner” question? With a laundry list of things to do, figuring out what’s for dinner, or breakfast and lunch for that matter, can be a daunting task. I am so excited to share with you the steps I take to plan 20 meals in 1 day! If you find yourself dreading the trip to the grocery store or frantically figuring out dinner on the way home, read on to learn my tips for meal planning made simple.

 

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Plan To Plan Your Meals

I know, I know…sounds like a given, but this is a critical step that will ease the process and have you planning meals like a pro. We tend to buy the same basic items each time we head to the grocery store AND we gravitate toward favorite recipes/types of food. This weekly meal plan printable is the exact template I use each week to take a quick check of what I already have in my kitchen and write out our meals for the entire month. I have broken your shopping up into 5 common categories – meat, produce, pantry, dairy, and frozen – to keep your shopping trip on track, as well as a tracker to list your 20 meals for the month. You can also use the printable to help you plan out how many breakfast and lunch meals you’ll need. The best part is once you complete this step you have a working grocery list that you can tweak every week… or however often you do your shopping. I even rinse and repeat my list of 20 meals, mixing and matching from previous months!

 

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Have Your Calendar On Hand

Whatever you use to keep track of your household schedule should be readily available when you’re making your meal plan. It helps you determine what days you can try out that new, more elaborate recipe.  Just the thought of trying a new recipe turns a humdrum grocery trip into something a little more exciting for me vs. using the that tried and true crockpot or 30 minute meal. I like looking at our schedule to see what days we can do leftovers for dinner or make extra for lunch. We have a “OYO” (on your own) day in my house… meaning cleaning that fridge out, takeout, grilled cheese, PBJ, etc. Trust me, do not skip pulling out your calendar, the last thing you want to do is plan to cook something for dinner only to realize it takes an hour and forty-five minutes and you only have thirty (gasp)! This is how you find yourself in the line of a fast-food restaraunt or eating a bowl of cereal for dinner… and I like you too much to let that happen 😉

 

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Shop Your Own Kitchen

Remember earlier when I mentioned making that list of what you already have??? Well here comes the magic! You probably have at least 2-3 meals already in your kitchen (mom win!!). Say for instance you have chicken+broccoli+ shredded cheese+bread crumbs = chicken broccoli casserole or oatmeal+nuts+berries = overnight oats for breakfast. I love when my clients tell me their grocery list (and bill) is cut down by my taking into consideration the things they normally keep on hand when planning meals for them. Not only does shopping your own kitchen reduce your time grocery shopping and your bill, it all but eliminates that dreaded moment you pull soggy, moldy, {insert gross word} food you forgot about at the back of the fridge… I can’t tell you how much money I wasted on fruits and vegetables because I wouldn’t check before heading out to the store!

Great Take Away

If you don’t gain anything else from this information, I want you to leave knowing that meal planning is personal. In order for it to stick you have to find what works best for you. These three tips help make meal planning hassle free not only for my household, but for my clients. It takes a little practice to figure out what works, but I guarantee you it will save you time, money, and most importantly, energy in the long run!

Leave me a comment and let me know how your meal planning is going and what works for your home!!

You may also want to check to check out this FB live where I discuss 4 simple tips for meal planning, just click here.

 

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