A few months ago I wrote about the importance of meal planning and what a huge difference it has made for my family. (If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here!) The improvements it caused in our home were numerous! It greatly reduced the stress in our home in the evenings and restored a sense of peace and order. It also saved us money by cutting back on useless spending on convenience food or restaurants. It also saved us money by reducing the wasted food in our home: the things on my grocery list, I already have a plan for, so of course they are going to get used up!
Now I’ve heard a lot of people say that they associate meal-planning with dieting. There are a lot of diet systems out there that talk about meal-planning and food preparation. However, meal-planning is really just what its name implies. It is choosing what you are going to eat for each dinner throughout the week/month ahead of time. Then making your grocery list according to that plan and making the meal on the scheduled day.Now, I’m not saying that you can’t use this as a method for eating healthy and dieting. It is definitely a very effective way to help with dieting. However, I don’t want that to be a hindrance to anybody either. At the end of the day, meal-planning is meant to make your life easier, not harder! So try to make it work for you and your family.
As with any new process, you want to set yourself up for success. To do this, you need to make sure that you are prepared prior to sitting down to actually compile your meal plan. One of the best and easiest ways I have found to start is by compiling a meal list. So, pull out your frequently used recipe books and grab your recipe cards. I started a few pages with different columns on them according to the main ingredient or meat. The columns I used are as follows: Ground Beef, Venison, Other Beef Cuts, Pork/Ham, Special Sandwiches, Breakfast, Fish, Chicken, Sausage, Misc Meat, Misc-Everything else, and Veggies & Side dishes. Once you have your columns planned out, then start filling in your families favorite meals.
To help you in your meal planning journey, I have included in this post 2 free printables!
Use the meal planning chart to record your meals for each day at the beginning of the week or month.
Use the meal list to record all of your family’s frequently used recipes. Separate the recipes by main ingredient, title each box with one main ingredient category and record the corresponding recipes in that box. You will probably need multiple pages to have enough columns for all of your categories.
I know that meal planning seems like a huge undertaking when you are first starting out. But I can’t tell you enough times how much peace and order it brought to our home! It reduced my stress levels in the evening and who doesn’t want less stress! I hope I’ve inspired you and encouraged you to try out this meal planning thing! Good luck in all of your meal planning adventures!
If you have any questions about my meal planning techniques or need advice in your own meal planning, leave your questions in the comment section below or send me an email. I always love to hear from my readers!