Meal Planning the Easy Way
Most people like eating dinner each night but no everybody loves planning and cooking meals, which has led to the explosive popularity of meal delivery services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh over the past couple of years. While these services are convenient, they are also expensive and not always easy to adapt to a house full of picky eaters. Instead of paying someone else to plan your dinners this week, why not do some easy meal planning of your own?
The easiest way I have found to plan meals is to start with a list of meals that my family likes to eat. I keep mine in the front cover of the notebook I use to plan my meals and make my shopping lists. This list is an easy reference to look at each week as you plan what you are going to make for dinner. Each week, I write out the days of the week and beside each day, I write what we will have for dinner that night on the right side of a page in my notebook.
From this list of meals, I can easily make a shopping list on the other side of the page by determining what I need to buy for each meal. Because I make many of the same meals over and over, I pretty much know the ingredients for each one by heart, but you could keep copies of the recipes for each week tucked into the notebook to help if you don’t know them. I like to stay flexible with my plan, though,so if I decided I don’t want to make something on the day I have it written, it’s ok because I have all the ingredients for all the other meals and I can change my mind. This happens often and my Instant Pot is my best friend because I don’t have to thaw meat before I put it in to cook.
The last tip I have for meal planning is to plan to not want to cook once in a while. Keep some easy freezer meals onhand for those nights. Or for the nights that you only have 20 minutes to cook between getting home and having to leave for baseball practice. My kids love nights when we have chicken nuggets or corn dogs and I love the ease of not dirtying every dish in my kitchen. It’s a win-win!
About the author:
Danielle Murphy is mom to three cute (but crazy) kiddos, married to a heavy rescue tow truck driver, and owner of her own creative small business. When she's not busy wrangling kids or letting her creativity take over, she likes to binge watch Psych while drinking Diet Coke.