4 Steps to Simplify Meal Planning
Meal planning is something you all shared that you need to be better about in 2021. It's something I need to do more of as well, starting today. When I do it it's not just to feed my family, it helps myself out during the week!
I remember hearing someone say their Mom meal planned the entire month out. While that sounds amazing, it also sounds a little advantageous and not exactly simple to me this year. I can do it one week at a time!
Over the last year meals got into more of a rhythm and planning them became more simple. The above routine is what we generally go by but feel free to move things around so it fits your schedule. Here are 4 steps I go through in my mind too while planning for the week ahead.
Check your Schedule
Even if you aren't a planner, you've got to eat. Saturday's are becoming the days I'll meal plan for the week ahead so Sunday's I can fight for a real sabbath. Find a day that works for you. Maybe you're fine eating out on the go, but when I spend $100 on a grocery order for the week and over half that for one meal eating out, it makes sense for us to meal plan. Planning meals to eat at home saves my sanity and the budget too!
If I know we'll be getting home at dinner time, dinner is best done in the slow cooker. If we're getting home later in the afternoon, it's a good night for pressure cooking or a sheet pan meal. If we'll be home most of the day, I'll have more time to make something that will take longer.
2. Check your Pantry + Freezer
Before you buy, check what you've got. You might be inspired or reminded by what's already in your pantry or hiding in your freezer. Remember some frozen items don't last forever so work them into your meal plan when you can.
3. Don't Overcomplicate it
Nothing in my plan is complicated. I'm giving myself grace on Saturday's to make burgers or get creative and make a recipe from a well-loved cookbook. The items may rotate based on our schedule.
4. Always have backup options
Life happens. Figure you'll always have some things in your freezer. Chili, soups, frozen chicken or beef, pasta in the pantry, rice and quinoa. We always have frozen veggies too. Simple meals on hand for when planning doesn't happen.
Know where you like to eat out too! This is also a backup plan! We have a favorite spot with a great happy hour menu. If that's in the plan for the week, I know when we need to leave our house so we won't be waiting in line.
Take this little plan and do with it what you will. My hope is it truly will be something that helps your meal planning become more simple. Want to see ours for the week? Here it is.
Monday: Soup recipe posting Monday, then I'll link it here!
Tuesday: This site is always a go to so I'll base the beef stew off of this recipe
Wednesday: Costco trip ensured we have chicken sausage and salad kits!
Thursday: This night tends to be leftovers for us!
Friday: Seeing friends from church!
Saturday: At some point this week I'd love to make chili so Saturday morning I simply have to take it out of the freezer and defrost for dinner that night.
Note: I don't schedule out lunches. Those are either leftovers or sandwiches. I don't plan out breakfasts either because that wouldn't be simple.
Any simple meal rhythms you've fallen into? I hope this helps!