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When I talk with different people about what frustrates them and what is most difficult for them to put into place, one of the biggest items is meal planning. Dinner for many being the toughest because by the end of the day, they are too tired to think about making dinner. So many times, a drive thru or pizza is what is on the table for dinner. I have pulled together several articles that I wrote to help plan out meals so there is less decision making after a long day. There is such a thing as decision fatigue because we make so many decisions ALL.DAY.LONG. Get started with meal planning using these tips and tools so you can lower your stress level and save money, too.
Get started with meal planning
This first article gives you some basics to get started if you have not done much in the way of planning before. If it still feels overwhelming, decide to focus on planning 1 meal of the day until you get a good handle on that. Even choosing to plan and make 3 dinners for the week might be a triumph. If you make extra, you can have the leftovers for another dinner or even for lunch the next day.
What are some of the health benefits of meal planning
Next, planning and making meals can give you some health benefits when you control the ingredients. This gives you some ideas, but there are a lot more that could be explored.
Busy day meal planning
More ideas on meal planning with a few links to some meal ideas.
Prepping ahead saves you time
Here is a short article with some prep ideas to get started.Prepping can make all the difference in the world for being able to get meals done in a quicker time frame.
Freezer friendly ingredients can save you time
Here are some freezer friendly ingredients that you can take advantage of to be able to get meals done.
Kids lunch planning
Kids lunches can be tough since they tend to have likes and dislikes, but also because they are near their friends at lunchtime. This article gives you some ideas for when you are getting the kids lunches together. Don’t be afraid to involve them in packing their own lunches with some guidelines on what can go in the lunch. Having them help can take some of the stress off of you, but also free up some of your time.
Plan ahead for breakfast to start your day
Running out the door in the morning without some sort of food to start your day can lead to spiraling out of control when making decisions later in the day. This article gives some suggestions for breakfasts that you can make ahead of time so the morning is less hectic when you are trying to start your day.
Snacks to keep you going
I don’t know about you, but between lunch and dinner, I can sometimes need a snack to hold me over until it is time for dinner, even if my lunch was a good one. Here are some ideas for snacks that you can prep ahead of time so you just grab and go.
Now a few tools to help with all that planning
Whew! There is a lot involved with meal planning and prepping. This gives you some ideas for items you might want to have in your kitchen. You don’t need all of them, but you may want to consider it for the future.
One of my favorites-The Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has become a big deal for a lot of people for when it comes to planning and making meals. Mine gets used often, at least twice a week. I even bought a smaller one so I can do some side dishes while using the larger one for my main dish. I have had mine for over 3 years now and would not be without it.
My next favorite tool to get dinner on the table
My slow cooker is also another key player in my kitchen. I love that I can dump the ingredients in and it does all the work for me. When it is time for dinner, I just serve it up. I use my slow cooker about once or twice a week. I have a set of 3 mini ones that I use to keep things warm if I have a bunch of people over when there are several side dishes. I like that I can put a lot in there and sometimes have leftovers, depending on how hungry my boys are.
Think seasonal when planning
When deciding to plan your meals, consider what produce is in season. It helps lessen your grocery bill, but also gives you more nutrients from the foods since it is fresher.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to meal planning. Don’t let that frighten you away. Meal planning can help ease some of the stress of getting dinner on the table. It can be simple, just take it a few steps at a time. Having that master meal list can save a lot of time so start there before you do anything else. You can always add to it. Getting started with meal planning is the first and hardest step.
I have tried various ways of meal planning over the years, including some paid subscriptions as well as a few bundles that I have come across with lots of recipes. I pick and choose the ones that work best for me at the time. I have come across many great options so I will share them with you at a later time. Every family is different and has differing needs. As our family dynamics have changed, so has our meal time planning and prep. I don’t want you to think there is only one way.
Be sure to check out my free resource library. There are several meal planning sheets in there to help you get started.
What will you start with today?