I don’t know about you, but summers around here tend to be a free for all. All my organization, scheduling, meal planning, bedtimes…it all pretty much goes out the window. It’s nice for a while. But when school starts and cooler temperatures come, I also look forward to getting back into a routine. And then the holidays come and it’s all out the window again. But my family still wants to eat. Enter the easiest meal planning you’ll ever do.
Meal planning has always been an area where I struggle, for lots of reasons. Kevin has feeding issues, Brian is a terribly picky eater (ARFID), as is my husband. At times I feel like a short order cook in a diner. This weekend, I am definitely getting my sh*t together. I have to start meal planning again, for my own sanity. I have to have a plan or it really stresses me out.
Meal planning has always been an area where I struggle, for lots of reasons. Kevin has feeding issues, Brian is a terribly picky eater, as is my husband. At times I feel like a short order cook in a diner.
Customizable Meal Planner
I need my meal planner to be customizable. I’ve tried the ready-made meal planners and they just don’t work for me. I have to change up too many things. It is much easier for me to just use the blank ones. I made up a bunch of these and I just change them out by season. My summer ones have lots of salads and grilling. Winter meal plans have more crock pot and soup ideas.
When I’m focused, I can do a weekly meal plan and order it on ShopRite Shop at Home in less than an hour. Seriously!
I also have some of these tablet-type meal planners, which are fantastic for when my printer is out of ink. Which is often!
Easy Meal Planning
Despite my best efforts, meal planning falls on me. I get it, I work from home. My husband works long hours and 90 minutes away. So it makes sense. But some days I’m ready to scream.
What has helped us is that I am open and honest about how I’m feeling about meals. And, what I’m cooking.
Now, I just make up several of these, a week at a time. If I’m flipping through a magazine or cookbook, I put the idea right on the planner. It includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, then I just take that meal planner sheet and shop from it. Easy peasy.
Looking for a monthly meal planner template? Just make up four of these, and voila, done. I now have about 5 or 6 weekly meal plans for the colder months and about 3-4 for warmer months.
Meal Planning Tips
- Be realistic. Some nights we eat hot dogs, and that’s ok. Be realistic about what you eat and plan for it. You can always improve as you go.
- I make several of these weekly meal templates, and then I rotate them. Right now I have about 15 of them, and I just choose one and do my shopping from it.
- Go easy on yourselves, moms. Not every night is Beef Wellington. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is fine. Better to have a plan of something simple and nutritious than nothing at all.
- When you see great ideas on Pinterest or in a magazine, don’t just pin it and forget it. Write it down on your next meal plan!
- See if there is a grocer near you who delivers. I find that I spend much less money with delivered groceries because I stick to my list and no impulse purchases. It’s also a huge time saver and sanity saver. I can sit down one evening and shop and meal plan in less than an hour.
- Tell everyone in the family they get to choose one meal each week/month. Takes the stress off you for thinking of ideas.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. And by that, I mean, meal planning, eating healthier, save money….start small. Start with meal planning and getting back on a grocery budget. Improve from there.