Last week I started a Busy Mom’s Meal Plan series to help us moms on the go spend less time in the kitchen and more time with our families.
This week I’m super excited to have a special guest to share her expert advice on meal planning, too!
Christina, an expert meal planner from It Is a Keeper! and the author of Dinner 411: How to Get Dinner on the Table in 30 Minutes of Less, joins us today to share a few of her best meal planning secrets.
Welcome, Christina–we are happy to have you share!
Meal Planning for Busy Families
Do you wish you had more time to spend with your family and less time in the kitchen?
Or does the thought of cooking after a long day make you just want to order takeout?
So many busy families struggle with getting dinner on the table every night. But dinner doesn’t have to be stressful.
One of the topics I cover in my e-book Dinner 411: How to Get Dinner on the Table in 30 Minutes or Less is meal planning.
Meal planning is one of the tools that keeps me organized during the busiest of weeks. While everything else in my life may be chaotic and disorganized, at least I know what we’re having for dinner.
Why Should You Meal Plan?
By planning out what you’re going to eat all week prevents those last minute trips to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner tonight!
By having a meal plan in place you can better plan your grocery store visits. Plus, if you have a meal plan, you’ll be less tempted to order out because you don’t have anything to make for dinner.
Meal planning will help you allow time to prepare healthy meals, side dishes and salads so you’ll be less tempted to make processed foods from a box.
How to Start Meal Planning
-Consider Your Calendar
I usually prepare my family’s meal plan on Sunday. I take into consideration my husband’s work schedule, my son’s activities and any other appointments or commitments that we have. If we have a particularly busy night, I incorporate make ahead meals or easy crock pot recipes.
-Don’t Forget About Leftovers
We always have leftovers. So, I make sure to include them in my meal plan. Sometimes I have a buffet night where we eat up everything that wasn’t finished.
Include Side Dishes
Don’t forget to plan out side dishes and salads on your meal plan. You don’t want to come home to a delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast and not have anything to serve with it.
Make Your Grocery List
I always make my grocery list as I’m putting together my meal plan. That way, I know just what I need in order to put my plan into action. My meal planning worksheet has a grocery list right on it!
It takes me about 15 minutes to put together my weekly meal plan. I start by going through my list of favorite recipes and build from there.
Remember! If you’re just getting started, you don’t have to commit to cooking every single night. Take baby steps. Meal planning is supposed to help with stress, not cause it.
If you need inspiration, I share a new meal plan every week on my website.
Hi! I’m Christina from It Is a Keeper. I’m a mom, food blogger and self-proclaimed recipe hoarder. I share easy recipes, meal planning tips and cooking videos on my blog. I’d love for you to stop over and say hi!