As a SAHM to two littles, meal planning crucial in preventing my husband and I from having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or scrambled eggs for dinner or running to Chick-fil-A (I've become addicted since giving birth to Katherine - it's completely out of control).
I love cooking -- it's therapeutic and it brings back memories of watching my mom and grandma cook growing up. The past few weeks I've meal planned and it has made such a difference in the amount of money we spend on groceries, the number of times I frequent the grocery store, and the meals that I actually cook on the stove rather than whipping up and serving on a paper plate. Oh and it's helping me to trim down -- I'm one of the few whose weight is at a standstill even though I'm breastfeeding.
Meal planning is easy peasy if you have the right tools! :) I've linked up some of my favorite finds on Pinterest as well as some of my personal tips!
Tip #1: Find Recipes to Make
This can be done through a cookbook, Pinterest, or someone sharing a recipe with you. Something I like to do it look through my pantry and refrigerator to see which ingredients I have and then do a Pintrest search for meals that include those items -- kinda like backwards planning! ;) I like to plan 3-5 meals per week because we usually have leftovers. Prior to being a mommy, I loathed leftovers. Now that I'm a mama to two, I'm all about reheating the deliciousness from the night before if it prevents me from creating a mess in the kitchen and a sink full of dishes!
Tip #2: Make A Grocery & Meal Plan List
Gone are the days where I can make a "mental" list and remember everything. I can't even go down an aisle WITH a list and grab everything I need in one swoop -- I still circle the store numerous times! I'm working on making a categorized list based on where the items are in the store because let's face it -- sometimes I don't have time to be running up and down the aisles fifteen times! I love the template found here because it also includes a place to indicate that you have a coupon! Other templates can be found here and here.
Tip #3: Post Meal Plan
I used to write the meals for the week on the back of my grocery list, but I usually toss that list once I'm at the checkout and then I forget the meals I've planned for the week. What I do is print a meal planning template, write out the meals, and then slip it into a plastic sleeve protector and hang on my kitchen wall. This weekend I have plans to be crafty and make a more permanent one to hang on the wall. Tonight I'll be perusing Pinterest to find an idea, but I think I like this one!
Tip #4: Follow Through
Sometimes it's easier to just scramble up some eggs even when you have a perfect meal plan for the week. My goal for June is to stick with our meal plans I create every Sunday and so far we're doing great! Running to the store 4-5 times a week is a thing of the past and I'm enjoying the time home with my girls rather than having to run out to get what we need for dinner that night!
I hope these tips help you become a successful meal planner! :) Happy planning and cooking!