Feeding the family is one of the most basic items on our to-do list as moms. Each day tiny people come to us needing us to make them food and sometimes that can be an overwhelming task. There can be incredible pressure to make sure it is home cooked, healthy, or organic and most basic of all…there.
We have all answered “I don’t know” to the question of “What’s for Dinner?” But preparing food for your people doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing panic each night. I have found that by taking a few minutes each week to sit down and plan out the meals for the week I can avoid a hangry, evening mess.
By spending a few minutes each week to create a meal plan, I am able to save loads of time later in the week. By knowing what I am going to be preparing for dinner each night, I can easily find my ingredients and get to cooking. I am no longer staring into a full fridge wondering what to make while hangry kids beckon from the other room.
Planning meals for the week doesn’t have to be a difficult task. I have created this sheet that you can use each week to plan your meals AND your corresponding grocery list.
So…Where to Begin?
Once you have your sheet, create a plan for dinner each night. Here it is important to consider what your week looks like. Do you have soccer practice late one night? Or dinner planned with friends? Make sure you consider those plans when planning for each day.
I personally like to have 5-7 dinners planned, that way we have options should the family not really feel like spaghetti. Do what works for you though. Perhaps you are simply wanting to eat at home 1-2 nights per week. This can work for you as well. If you are eating out one night, write it in there! Make sure you have a plan for each night.
Lunches in our home vary among the hubs, the kiddos, and myself but often they are one of a few options or dinner leftovers. The sheet includes space for a few lunch and breakfast ideas that can be used each day. If your kiddos like to snack like mine, you can also use the snacks section to make sure you pick up and prep a few healthy options for snacks.
Once you have your meal plans in place, use the right side of the sheet to quickly plan and create a shopping list before heading to the grocery. Check your pantry to see if you already have some ingredients on hand and put on your list what needs remain.
Take your shopping list to the store with you and when you arrive home, you can place your meal plan on the fridge or in your planner. Keep it somewhere easily accessible to reference throughout the week.
If you are anything like me, a to-do list is the essence of your being. So at the bottom of the sheet I have included an area where you can list anything that needs to be prepped, washed, or repackaged. Because we all know the worst part of grocery shopping is figuring out what to do with it all once you get it home. This ‘To Prep’ space will help you stay on track and getting everything ready for the week.
Meal planning has not only helped us eat healthier as a family, it has also helped us stop spending so much extra money eating at restaurants. With two hungry kiddos, that are not cheap dates, eating out is often a waste of money. While we aren’t against a meal out, we would rather it be an event, a meal with friends, or a new place, not just because we don’t want to or have nothing to cook for dinner.
You, too, can find immense benefit from planning your meals. From reduced stress in the evening, to saved money, to knowing your family is eating well. The benefits of meal planning truly show for themselves.
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Get your own FREE instant download copy below! Leave me a comment or message me to let me know what you think or share with me a struggle you have with food prep and meal planning.