Meal planning is my saving grace when it comes to those busy nights when we are on the go from the time school is out until bed time. It’s also my saving grace during the summer months since we are usually pretty busy then too. Whether you’re super busy or just hoping to create some order at dinnertime, these family meal planning tips for beginners will help make that a reality!
Family Meal Planning Tips for Beginners
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1. Check you schedule.
The biggest mistake I made when I started meal planning was to choose meals without first checking my schedule for the week. Doing this pretty much ensured I would fail. I had meals planned that I would never be able to make on a given day. There was no way I would be able to cook chicken parm on a night that included hockey, and a photo session. This quickly turned into a take out night, and big waste of money.
Checking my schedule before I choose meals for the week helps me to plan accordingly. There are some days that will only work with a slow cooker meal, and others where I have enough time to cook something a little more time consuming.
2. Be realistic.
Realize that there are days that just won’t go as planned, and keep a stash of quick foods for those days. I like to keep extra frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, etc.
Are they the healthiest meals? No, maybe not. But if I don’t have those things we are likely to do a drive thru on the way to practice more often than we would like.
There was a time when I insisted if the food wasn’t kept in the house, we wouldn’t eat it. That just wasn’t realistic for us. We need quick foods to fall back on when things don’t go as planned.
3. Keep a list of go-to meals.
Keep a list of family favorites. Things that everyone will eat, and worked well with your schedule. As you continue to meal plan, that list will grow, and you will appreciate having a reference for ideas.
4. Use a rotating schedule.
Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. Come up with 2 weeks worth of meals, and repeat them every 2 weeks. 14 meals means you will only have a repeat of a meal twice in a month.
5. Get help.
If you’re not the kind of person that likes to dig for recipes or spend a ton of time trying to come up with new ideas for dinners, check out $5 meal plan. For $5 a month, you will get a new recipes every week, and a grocery list. You can get a free 2 week trial here. I have tried the service, and the meals are great!
Your turn- Have you tried family meal planning? What are your best family meal planning tips for beginners?
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