When you are a mom on the go, the last thing you want to do or have time to do is meal plan.
Here is a step by step process on how to meal plan in 15 minutes or less. This process was created to help you ACTUALLY stick with meal planning and enjoy doing it each week. If you are new to meal planning check out my Beginners Guide to Meal Planning for Busy Moms.
It will help you:
- Cut back on your grocery bill.
- Eliminate being overwhelmed by the process.
- Reduce food waste.
- Help you create meals your family actually enjoys.
- Cut down on the time spent in the grocery store.
Create a Meal Planning Binder.
Create a meal planning binder to organize all of your tools in one place.
This binder will need to have a section for:
- Currently what is on hand in your pantry/fridge.
- Your families favorite meals.
- List of simple side dishes.
- Family favorite desserts.
- Meals that are cheap to make.
- Empty Calendar pages to write out your meal plan
- Blank grocery lists.
Now, you can get a fancy or keep it as simple as you want to. You can meal plan a week at a time or a whole month in advance! Find what works for you! Meal planning can be a difficult skill to learn but it CAN be done.
I tend to over complicate things so I like to keep it SUPER simple. CLICK HERE to get started with your weekly Meal Planning Calendar!
Putting this binder together may take a little work on the front end but I promise it will be SO worth it in the long run!
Once you have your binder ready to go follow these steps to make a meal plan for your family in under 15 minutes!
Look at the Week Ahead.
When you have you calendar in front of you write down any days that it may not be feasible to make dinner. Are you committed to a church group on Wednesday evenings? What days do your kids have sports? Celebrating a birthday with family or having a backyard BBQ with friends? Write down those events. On these nights, plan to have leftovers, a crock pot meal that’s easy to throw together or plan to take the family out to eat and make sure to budget for it.
Create Meals From What You Already Have.
Look at the list that contains what is already in your pantry and fridge. See what you have and don’t have so you are not buying more than what you need and using up what you have. You will be really surprised at the meals that you can create by what you already have in your pantry.
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Your family DOES NOT NEED fancy meals EVERY NIGHT!
I grew up with a mom that served a meat, 3 vegetables and a carb for dinner most nights. So I thought that’s what I needed to do for my family in order to be a good mom.
Well sister, if you want to do that, rock on! This mama ain’t got the time!
I have learned that one pot meals, one pan sheet dinners, crock pots, instant pots and 5 ingredient dinners are my best friend.
I got introduced to this concept not long ago and it has saved my sanity! Find a recipe that can be easily doubled or easily frozen. When you cook that recipe, make double what your family can eat and you can use that for leftovers the next night if you know it will be busy, you could freeze it to pull out for future use or have it for lunches the next day.
Refer back to your lists.
Look at the list you have put together for your families favorites, simple main dishes, frugal dinners . . . whatever list you have created. Pull 5 meals from the list. Always work in a night for leftovers (refer to batch cooking) and a night for your family to fend for themselves. What I mean by that is there is usually a night during the week that for our family the kids will choose for themselves chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas or grilled cheese, soup . . .whatever that is simple and on hand. Same with the adults.
Fill in Your Calendar.
Fill in the calendar with the meals you have chosen. Just because you have it written on a certain day does not mean that it has to be made that day. For example, if I planned to have taco salad on Wednesday but it actually works out better for Monday, switch it out. Be flexible. If you like to plan for 2 weeks or more, pick out your meals and rotate them through the weeks or month.
Ok, Lets get to it! Plan your meals like a boss in NO time!