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Meal planning is amazing. It takes the question out of what’s for dinner and provides the answer.
If you have read my blog before you know I am an advocate for meal planning and saving Mom’s time in the kitchen. I love knowing what is for dinner. Before I leave the house and head to work I know what meal my family will be sitting down to in the evening. I know that my family will be enjoying meal time conversation over a great home cooked meal.
How do I know this? The answer is easy – I meal plan. And no my meal plan does not consist of mac and cheese on this day, soup on this day and burgers or tacos on that day. My meal plan consists of roast chicken, bbq street tacos, apricot pork chops and yes burgers. My meal plan consists of yummy foods that I know my family will eat, that won’t break my grocery budget and provides the nutrients we need.
Meal planning is so easy.
But you do need a few things to make it successful and easy on Mom or Dad.
1. Get the family involved.
Having your family involved is a must. Let them help you choose the meals and give opinions. If you have older children get them to help you prepare the meals. Use meal planning as a bonding experience. Check in and see how everyone’s day has been.
2. A calendar.
You will need a calendar on the fridge or one the wall in the kitchen so you can write down what’s for dinner. Somewhere you can do your planning. I suggest this one as it gives you lots of room to plan your meals and schedule other events.
3. A great meal planning service or recipe provider.
Not everyone is great in the kitchen. Not everyone has time to figure out new recipes. A meal planning service or recipe provider does all the work for you, some will even make your grocery lists and give you tips on saving money. I have found an amazing meal planning service MyFreezEasy. And why is MyFreezEasy amazing? MyFreezEasy has multiple meal plans and the meal choices are always changing. Do you have dietary issues – no problem. MyFreezEasy can tailor your meal plan to suit your needs. My family enjoys the gluten free options. You also get recipes, instructions, grocery lists and tips from MyFreezEasy. No more stressing on what is for dinner.
4. Freezer and fridge space.
Having room to store your yummy meals is important. With MyFreezEasy you will do some meal preparation before hand. They even offer a 10 meals in one hour fill the freezer plan. So having room to store your meals is important. Take some time to clear the clutter in the freezer or fridge, do some organization and assess what ingredients you have. Ingredients can be substituted, use what you have to save money.
5. Containers and storage.
When you are meal planning you need containers to store your meals whether you are doing a freezer meal plan or just a daily meal plan. I have found that see through storage containers work best. These containers work great. Make sure to purchase enough containers for the number of meals you will be making. If you are doing a mass meal planning and preparation session using freezer bags for storage might be an economical option.
6. A great pantry selection
Every cook needs a great pantry full of dry goods, bulk items, protein sources, vegetables, fruits and canned items. If you are using a meal plan and you don’t have an ingredient a well stocked pantry will supply you with great alternatives. If you are stuck and tonight’s meal plan doesn’t work between last minute appointments and dance class or soccer having a great pantry will provide you meal alternatives. A well stocked pantry is a must.
7. A grocery shopping budget.
No meal plan, no stocked pantry, no freezer space or ingredient is going to save you money and time if you don’t have a grocery budget. Having a grocery budget is important it keeps you on plan. It helps you save money. The main purpose of meal planning is to save money so meal planning and a grocery budget go hand in hand. Set yourself a grocery budget monthly or weekly how ever it works for you and your finances. Shop your store sales, checkout the flyers, use coupons. Buy generic, try a new brand. A grocery budget can be your best friend at saving money in the kitchen.
The benefits of meal planning are amazing.
If you have two seconds checkout MyFreezeasy and all they have to offer. Try meal planning for a week and see how much time and money it saves you. Next time your family asks you what’s for dinner you will know the answer and it won’t be drive thru. It will be an amazing home cooked meal paired up with family conversation.