I am going to be honest with you…. I hate doing a meal plan. As a working mom I know the dreadful task of trying to get a meal plan together. It can be overwhelming and frustrating. Being the head chef in the family and determine what the monthly meal is going to be can have it highs and it lows. Well, today I am going to offer some simple tips that help me and may help the the busy mom with meal planning.
Check Your Home Inventory
First thing first, look in your refrigerator, freezer and cabinets to see what you have on hand. This gives you an idea on what you can plan your meal around with the items you have at home. I always check those items out first because it can help me determine what type of meal to plan for my family. Also, shopping at home first can save you some money.
Keep Meal Planning Simple
Don’t get boggle down with dates each meal has to be cooked on. That is what discourage and frustrated me the most about meal planning. I would get my calendar and write out all menu on different dates on my calendar. When that date come around I realize that I really don’t want meat loaf on Wednesday but I rather have spaghetti instead. The idea of a meal planner is let it work for you. For me, I write out 30 or 31 meals depending on the number of days in the month. I don’t mark them on my calendar but it gives me an idea on what I need to buy for my meal that month. After that if there a particular meal that I want for that month. I have the necessary ingredients and items to cook that meal for that day.
Buy in bulk.
When I say buy in bulk I am not saying buy a 10lb bag of flour. Especially if you are not going to use it. For example, I have a Kroger and they have their 10 items deals. If they have my favorite pasta sauce for $1.99 if I buy 10 and I have coupons for that. Then I am going to buy my favorite pasta sauce in bulks and save it for another meal plan. Buying in bulk can save you the time for visiting the grocery store often and it can save you money. I buy my meat in bulk especially if it is on sale because that is less money I have to spend later on in meats.
I am a BIG advocate for freezer food. I hardly throw any food a way in my house. Due to any left overs that I have they are put in freezer bag for mid week lunch or quick meal on one of the days I forgot to take my meat out to defrost. Freezing left overs and doing freezer meals are my rescue meals. If I have a long day at work my freezer meal is my back up plan to get a quick and healthy meal on the dinner table. When I make a big pot of soup if my family do not eat that whole pot of soup I freeze it to have on another cold winter snap. If you need ideas on simple freezer meal check out She Tried That blog on cheap and easy freezer meal here
Stick With Staple Meals
With me my I try to serve my family our normal basic meals. Such as spaghetti, beef tips and rice or tacos. If I try a new menu its due I am burn out from the same ole meal or it is something that my family may enjoy and it quick and easy. With meal planning keep it simple and easy. I would love to try some Tuscon type of meal but with a 10 year old and 5 year old I better off making homemade pizza. That is a battle I am not trying to fight.
Remember with meal planning it take time and practice. You have to learn what works for you and your family. There is still sometimes that I may forget to take something for my family for dinner. I learn not sweat the small stuff. beside if you forget breakfast for dinner always work like a charm ;).
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