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How many times did the thought of “What’s for dinner?” make you feel stressed or anxious? I can tell you that from the moment I had kids, this became a major stressor.
The main two reasons were that it became my responsibility to provide them with healthy meals and money stretched much tighter. Once food allergies were thrown into the mix, meal planning was no longer optional, it was a necessity to get by.
There are so many different reasons why everyone should be meal planning. For example, it can relieve stress in your daily life and it’s healthier for your body because you are no longer eating out on a whim.
Meal planning can seem intimidating. I know I was at first but had to quickly learn an easy method to make it work for my family.
Throughout the years, I learned and tested many ways to get organized and reduce my stress regarding food. Now, I feel proficient in meal planning and will share a few tricks with you!
What is Meal Planning
Today, I am able to plan an entire month’s worth of dinners with options for breakfast and lunch in about 30 minutes.
You read it right, it only takes 30 minutes to have the whole month ready. No more last-minute runs to the grocery store after realizing that we have nothing for dinner.
I decided to share my experience with you so you can stop stressing about what to make for dinner and stop wasting your time running to the store every day!
Starting April 19th, you will be able to learn how to easily plan your meals in my brand new free 7-day meal planning challenge.
Why You should plan your meal
1. It is healthier
Home-cooked meals are healthier than eating out. First of all, you know what is in your food, but you will also feel good about feeding yourself and your family every day. Having multiple food allergies in my household, this is essential for our health
2. You will save money.
When my family of 4 eats out at a sit-down restaurant, the absolute minimum we spend is $40. However, when you meal plan and budget your costs, you could easily feed a family of 4 with 2-4 meals for $40.
On stressful and long days, when you don’t know what’s for dinner, you are much more likely to stop on the way home from work and pick up takeout. If you do this twice a week you will have completely blown your budget.
However, when everything is planned out, with the groceries ready at home, you don’t have to stress about it.
3. You will save time
The first week of the month I do my bulk shopping. I get it out of the way and I don’t have to think about it for another month.
On top of that, I go to the store and replenish our perishable’s and produce once a week. I get just what we need for the week. The first week of the month I run to 3 stores, but for the rest of the month, I only need one quick weekly shopping trip. I am in and out in less than 20 minutes.
4. You will be organized and setting your week up for success.
When you know what’s happening in your day you feel organized and with that comes success.
Every morning you can reference your meal plan, take meat out to thaw and you are ready for your day. This also gives you an opportunity to look at your calendar and get a good look at what’s ahead for the day.
If you planned crock pot meals, you can throw them together at that time, or if something comes up you can switch the meals around to work for your schedule.
It is also important to always have 2 emergency meals in the freezer in case something comes up.
You can either take a meal that you are going to make and double the recipe to freeze one, or just have something fast and easy. I keep frozen turkey burgers, buns, french fries, pizza crust and tortillas on hand. That way I have some very easy and fast options ready in case the day does not go as planned.
5. You will plan your meals around your schedule.
You have to set yourself up for success and plan your meals around your schedule.
If you know you are working late or there is practice in the evening then you need to plan for that. Crock pot meals are excellent for days like this.
If you know that you will be home all weekend and want to get creative in the kitchen, then plan for it.
Often, we put these delicious looking meals that are out of our comfort zone in the meal plan and then want to make it on a Tuesday afternoon. You are tired, need 3 ingredients from the store, it was harder than expected and you end up defeated. Plan meals that you can carve out enough time for and that are at your skill level.
6. Get everyone involved
Cooking is such an important life skill. So many people don’t know how to cook or do not want to.
I find it very important to teach my children the joy of cooking. I grew up eating processed boxed food and fast food. I was also a very sick teen and adult. I want my children to love their bodies and feed it the best possible ingredients and the only way to control that is by cooking your own food.
Get everyone in the kitchen together and make it a group effort.
If you teach them now, then someday they will be cooking for you.
In the free 7-day meal planning challenge you will get a free printable meal planner and grocery list.
Every day you will receive a different activity to help you learn about the best way to start meal planning and by day 6 you will be following your own meal plan.
We will also talk every day in the private Facebook group created for this challenge. In the group, I will show you my method of meal planning in live videos and answer any questions you might have.
And don’t forget to get your free copy of “7 Dinners under $10” with a meal plan and its grocery list on my website.
Over To you
Do you plan your meal ahead? What tips would you share for people starting out?