Meal planning is the best way to ensure your family is eating nutritious quality food. Life can get hectic and that makes meal planning a lot harder. If you feel overwhelmed with meal planning, read more to learn some helpful tips to help you become a meal planning pro (or at least get you started).
Why Plan Meals?
As parents we want our children to get the most nutrition as possible. We also want them to develop healthy habits along the way so they will make good food choices on their own someday. Providing healthy balanced meals is one of the best ways to do this.
To save money
When you know exactly what you are going to make for your meals, you don’t end up buying extra food that will be wasted. Plus you can make seasonal recipes to decrease on costs because you are buying things at a better price when they are in season. Additionally, you will find yourself eating out less!
To save time
Knowing what you are going to make ahead of time allows you to be prepared by having ingredients on hand, letting food thaw if needed, and saving you from last minute stops to the store.
Meal Planning Methods
The Weekly Method
Begin by taking an inventory of ingredients you already have on hand and checking the weekly grocery store sale flyers. Choose meals for each day of the week and make a shopping list that reflects the ingredients needed to make these meals and head to the grocery store.
The Monthly Method
Choose 20-30 of your favorite recipes that you can rotate through. You can add in a new recipe or make something twice if your family really loves it, but generally you will stick to your tried and true 30 recipe rotation.
Take a brief inventory of staples and basic ingredients before you go grocery shopping. Start the month with a large shopping trip, buying anything that won’t go bad and perishables for the first week. After that, just refer to your meal plan and shop weekly for needed items.
Take a few hours to plan your meals and make your grocery list. Shop for everything you will make. Plan a time to cook and freeze all of your meals.
Meal Planning Tips
Plan your meals by what is in season. You will save money this way and also get the most flavor from your food.
Create a fall back meal. Have a meal that you can quickly put together in a pinch and always keep the ingredients for that meal on hand.
Make meals that can work together. Try to plan your meals so that you can use leftover from on meal to supplement another.