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Are you a mom who dreads dinnertime because your kids are complaining about how hungry they are and you have no idea what to make?
Planning out your meals ahead of time can prevent you from feeling that unnecessary stress each and every day.
I did not always meal plan. There once was a time where we would grocery shop with no clue as to what we were going to eat throughout the week. (How the heck did we manage that one?!)
We would spend so much money and yet we would find ourselves stopping on the way home from the grocery store to pick up a pizza.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done that!
Once our family grew I knew something had to change. We needed to make sure that we were sticking to our budget. This meant that I had to look for information about meal planning for beginners.
What is Meal Planning?
Meal planning is the process of creating a menu for what you are going to eat for a specific period of time (week, month, etc). You could either plan all of your meals for the day or just the dinners (which is what I do).
Many people feel that meal planning is hard and overwhelming. They also tend to feel as though it is too time-consuming. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be.
I meal planned an entire month’s worth of meals in about an hour by following the tips I am about to share with you. The time it takes to meal plan is so worth it because you won’t have to spend the time figuring out what you are going to eat later on. It reduces stress and anxiety knowing that it is already taken care of.
How to Get Started
To get started I suggest the following meal planning essentials:
- A meal planning pad
- Recipes/Meal ideas
Steps of Meal Planning
- Take inventory of everything that is in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. That way you are not buying food that you already have. Knowing what you have will also prevent food from going to waste.
- Assign themes for each day of the week. For example:
- Mondays – Air Fryer meal
- Tuesdays – Mexican
- Wednesdays – Breakfast for dinner
- Thursdays – Pasta
- Fridays – Pizza
- Saturdays – Instant Pot meal
- Sundays – Soup and sandwich
- Pull out your recipes, whether they be in a recipe binder, on recipe cards, in cookbooks, and/or online.
- Decide what meals you will have each day based on the themes you have chosen.
- Write your grocery list to ensure that you have all the ingredients you need to make your meals.
Common Questions/FAQ About Meal Planning
Does meal planning save money?
YES! What happens when you do not already have something planned for dinner? More than likely you decide to eat out. That costs way more money than if you were to go buy some groceries to make a homemade meal.
Meal planning also saves you money because it keeps you from wasting food. You have already made a plan as to what you are going to make, so you know you are going to use the groceries you have purchased.
How can I save money on groceries?
- Take inventory of what you already have at home to make sure you don’t buy anything that is unnecessary.
- Plan your meals based on the sales going on at your grocery store.
- Use coupons that you find in your Sunday newspaper and online.
What do you eat on a low budget?
Foods that are inexpensive and can make a large amount of food, such as:
- Soup & Sandwich
- Bulk Meats (ex. ground turkey)
How do I make my meal plan easier?
- Plan meals that are quick and easy, especially for busy evenings
- Use an Instant Pot and/or Air Fryer
- Make freezer meals
- Use a meal delivery service
How do you stick to a meal plan?
- Have your meal plan posted somewhere the whole family can see it
- Meal prep whatever you can ahead of time
What are the benefits of meal planning?
- Saves you money
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Prevents you from wasting food
Meal planning is very helpful, especially when you are a mom. It helps reduce the stress and anxiety that comes from having to figure out what to make for dinner each night.
It will also save you money and help you to eat healthier because you will have a planned meal at home instead of eating out.
I hope this helped you!
Do you meal plan? If not, what is keeping you from doing so?