Meal planning seems like such a time saver, especially for busy families with young kids. What is meal planning exactly? It's just that planning the meals you are going to eat in advance, for several days, a week, or even a month. Is meal planning just for Martha Steward types, or can you do it too? This week I, a relatively disorganized mom in a busy homeschooling and home jobbing family, gave it a go. Read on to find out more.
I decided to give meal planning a go because I think it will force us all to eat more healthily, it will save time and prevent stress, and it may bring our grocery bill down a little. We're a family with two children (and some pets), and we are usually a little last minute about our food plans. This means we are at the grocery store often. I hope we can keep this up. I know that you can do it too, if we manage!
This is when we all sat down as a family, looked up free meal planning sheets on the web, and went to our favorite recipe sites to see what we were going to be eating for the next week. We planned breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. We've only got one family member who works out the home, and we "allowed" him to buy lunch some days, while taking packed lunch to the office on other days. We went shopping and managed to obtain most of the ingredients for the meals we will be eating over the next week. Some stuff will still need to be bought fresh during the week, but I imagine this one trip to the store will still save a lot of time and hassle.
We had a wonderful Thai meal that the whole family enjoyed, and I started a folder with the recipes I printed out, so we can refer to them again easily (and don't waste too much paper or ink!). So far, we're definitely loving meal planning.
We had some neighborhood kids turn up for dinner unexpectedly, and my plans to serve tonight's pasta for lunch the next day went out the window. But hey, at least we had enough to feed everyone.
Wednesday and Thursday
Meal planning is still going great for us! We had to go shopping for some fresh ingredients and for the meal we planned for Friday, because we'll be having guests over. It feels wonderful to be liberated from the almost daily shopping we did, and I am convinced that our new approach really is one of the top money-saving tips for parents of young kids. We will definitely be keeping it up in the future.