The main issues I see families struggle with around meal planning are time, time, and then, time.
Time gets in the way of grocery shopping. Time gets in the way of preparing healthy foods, and we just don’t have the time to plan what we want to eat and when.
A quick fix in finding time to grocery shop would be to take advantage of online shopping via Instacart, Amazon, or Shipt. See our How to Source Whole Foods blog post HERE for other ideas.
Getting around time preparing food is made easier these days by purchasing pre-chopped food kits. You can even purchase sliced organic apples at Costco. Along with meal kit delivery options that cater to both the gluten free, Whole 30, and paleo diets, there is something for everyone.
If we continue to let time get in the way, then we wing it. And when we wing it, refined convenience food is what we “prepare”. And that isn’t what we want for our families.
(Photo cred: Parks Photography)
4 Easy Meal Planning Tips
Plan for 3-4 dinners, nobody needs to win any awards here for turning out a June Cleaver style meal every evening.
#2 Create a rhythm, or use theme nights
Routine and structure are super helpful, so as much as we resist it-take 10 minutes (not even) to choose a theme for dinners. A theme will give you some quick freedom in choosing recipes/meals.
Dinner 1=Mexican food night
Dinner 2=Italian food night
Dinner 3=Seafood night
Dinner 4=Asian food night
If theme nights don’t work for your family, then create a rhythm, (which can be more loosey-goosey) such as:
Church nights are pasta nights
Mom-work-late nights are soup nights
Sunday nights are salad & bagel nights
Friday nights are Take-Out nights
Instant Pot night, crockpot night, soup/stew night, meal- kit delivery night, hot sandwich night, or, fill-in-the-blank. You and your family have things you love about your week and things you don’t love. Have a conversation about how to make this work, and get their feedback.
#3 Find your recipes
Social media is the fastest UNLESS you don’t have the discipline to get in and out quickly with what you need. For this you could set an alarm for 5-10 minutes. From your above themes, you might look for the following recipes:
- Mexican=burrito bowl
- Italian=antipasto and tossed salad
- Seafood=salmon with pesto and brown rice
- Breakfast=egg bake and tropical smoothies
#4 Put together your ingredient list & SHOP
First, take a quick look at what you already have (I’m a fan of just ordering/shopping for what I need so I always have extra).
Set a shopping day or order your groceries online.
What are your favorite meal planning tips?