How To Begin Meal Planning
The Easiest Way To Put A Meal Plan Together
If mealtimes are something you dread because you never know what to make for dinner, it may be time to start a meal plan for you and your family. Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated and if you’re just starting out, you should just start with the basics. Having a meal plan in place will save you a ton of time and money because you’ll have everything you need stocked in the pantry which means, no more last minute runs to the store!
Here are some basic, beginner tips (plus a free printable) on how to start your own meal plan.
Create a list of your family’s favorite meals. If you’re new to meal planning, I would recommend just creating a “dinners” list to start with. Once you feel comfortable with your meal planning and prep, you can move on to creating a list for Breakfast, Lunch, and Desserts even.
In the printable below, you have a space for “Type of Dish” where you can write down what cuisine it is. Is it an American dish? Italian? Mexican? This will help you create a meal plan with variety so your family isn’t getting tired of the same thing all the time.
Next, you can jot down your main dish, and any side dishes you’d like to serve with it. Get your family’s help with this by asking them what their favorite dishes are. Fill out the info below to get your free meal planning printable!
Now that you have a list of your family’s favorite meals, you can begin a weekly meal plan. Grab a sheet of paper and jot down what you would like to make for dinner this week. Be sure to write down any ingredients you’ll need to pick up from the grocery store.
When creating your weekly meal plan, keep in mind any activities you have going on that week. If you’ll be taking your kids to practice on Tuesday, keep that dinner fast and easy to make. Also remember to use your type of cuisine when creating your meal plan and offer a variety of dishes that week.
For instance, Monday can be Mexican. Tuesday can be Italian, Wednesday can be American, etc.
Stock up on common ingredients. Now that you have your list, you’ll know what you need to stock up on. Some staples I keep in the pantry and freezer are pasta, ground beef, chicken, broth, fish, rice, beans, pasta sauce, and canned veggies (just to name a few).
Meal Prep. Once you have your list of what you’ll be making this week, you can meal prep ahead of time to save time the day of. Do you have 3 meals this week that will require chopped onions?
Chop them all on meal prep day (mine is Sunday) and place them in individual baggies in the freezer. Have a chicken recipe that uses diced chicken? Cut it up on meal prep day and place in a baggie in the freezer.
Take a look at your meals this week and see what you can prep ahead of time so you’re not spending so much time right before dinner.
Well, that’s all for today! I hope you found this article helpful and if you’d like to learn more about meal planning, we go much more in-depth in our online Homemaking school, the Home Management Society.
I’m a big believer in being able to sample something before you invest your money into it. Which is why right now, you can get your first 30 days in the school for just $1. That’s it! $1 for your first 30 days and then it’s just $10 a month after that.
You can find out more about the school right HERE.
Let me know how your meal planning is coming along and if there’s anything I can do to help, leave me a comment below!