Over the past 10 years meal planning has been a staple in our house and let me tell you it saves my butt even more these days while working full-time and having two kids.
It not only saves time, but money, food and a lot of hassle overall.
Meal planning has changed in the past few years as I have less time when we talk in the door, more distractions and kids that decide what they love one day they hate the next. But sticking to the meal plan still allows us to sit down every night and eat a planned supper.
I share all my weekly meal plans on Fridays as most of you know!
Since this is an area lot struggle with I want to share some of our tips and tricks when it comes to meal planning as a family.
1 – Make your plan visible. We have a reusable board on the fridge so both Chad and I know what we will be eating all week and plan accordingly. I think this will be even more helpful once the girls can read too.
An old photo but we still have the same board:
2 – Have theme nights. Adding in a theme night every week or every other takes the thought out of those nights. We do pizza every other Friday and a taco night once a week. Once I know that l just have to look up recipes for that item versus any recipe.
3 – Use technology! Pinterest is still my go to. I use to save and organize recipes then can look at those recipes right from my phone and make a grocery list from that. I also use a grocery list app called Out of Milk.
4 – Get everyone’s input. Almost weekly I ask Chad (he says pizza) and Avery (she says pancakes) for an idea. Even though they almost always say the same thing it makes them feel included and then they can have their favourite meals too.
5 – Keep it simple. For weeknight meals my goal is to have the meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. One pot meals and crockpot meals help a ton with this! I save more time consuming meals for weekends when I can spend an hour cooking supper.
6 – Prep ahead. If you know your recipes are more time consuming use the night before or morning of to spend 10 minutes prepping. You will be amazed at how that 10 minutes can help either by cooking your grain, chopping veggies, marinating meat etc.
7 – Make ONE supper. This is so hard with kids but possible! I rarely cook more than one supper. The girls either eat exactly what we do or I use the same ingredients and slightly modify it for them. Example – Avery does not love pasta sauce with veggies so instead I give her plain pasta and raw veggies on the side. We also have a one bite rule, so no matter what you try one bite – if it is not your thing that is fine. I aim to offer things they previously did not like a few times or more since they do often change their taste preferences!
Do you meal plan? If so, what are your tips?