*originally published under my old blog knottonest
Meal planning and feeding the family is one of the most basic items on our to-do list as moms.
Each day tiny people come to us needing us to make them food and sometimes that can be an overwhelming task.
There can be incredible pressure to make sure it is home-cooked, healthy, or organic, and most basic of all…there.
We have all answered “I don’t know” to the question of “What’s for Dinner?” But preparing food for your people doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing panic each night.
I have found that by taking a few minutes each week to sit down and plan out the meals for the week I can avoid a hangry, evening mess.
Weekly Meal Planning
By spending a few minutes each week to create a meal plan, I am able to save loads of time later in the week.
Knowing what I am going to be preparing for dinner each night ensures that I can easily find my ingredients and get to cooking.
I am no longer staring into a full fridge wondering what to make while hangry kids beckon from the other room.
Planning meals for the week doesn’t have to be a difficult task.
You can use this meal planner each week to plan your meals AND create your corresponding grocery list.
Weekly Meal Planning Printable
To start, make sure you have a copy of my Weekly Meal Planning Printable. You can sign up below to get your own copy.
Once you have your planner, decide on a dinner meal for each night.
During this step, it is important to consider what your week looks like.
Do you have soccer practice late one night? Or dinner planned with friends? Make sure you consider those plans when planning for each day.
I personally like to have 5-7 dinners planned, that way we have options should the family not really feel like spaghetti.
Do what works for you though.
Perhaps you are simply wanting to eat at home 1-2 nights per week. This can work for you as well.
If you are eating out one night, write it on the meal planning sheet! Make sure you have a plan for each night.
Meal Planning for Breakfast and Lunch
Lunches in our home vary among the Hubs, the kiddos, and myself but often they are one of a few options or dinner leftovers.
This Weekly Meal Planner includes space for breakfast and lunch ideas that can be used each day.
If your kiddos like to snack like mine, you can also use the snacks section to make sure you pick up and prep a few healthy options for snacks.
Meal Plan Shopping List
Once you have your meal plans in place, use the right side of the sheet to quickly plan and create a shopping list before heading to the grocery.
Check your pantry to see if you already have some ingredients on hand and put on your list what needs remain.
Take your shopping list to the store with you and when you arrive home, you can place your meal plan on the fridge or in your planner.
Keep it somewhere easily accessible to reference throughout the week.
If you are anything like me, a to-do list is the essence of your being.
At the bottom of this weekly meal planner, there is an area where you can list anything that needs to be prepped, washed, or repackaged.
Because we all know the worst part of grocery shopping is figuring out what to do with it all once you get it home.
This To Prep space will help you stay on track and getting everything ready for the week.
The Benefits of Meal Planning
Meal planning has not only helped us eat healthier as a family, it has also helped us stop spending so much extra money eating at restaurants.
With two hungry kiddos, that are not cheap dates, eating out is often a waste of money.
While we aren’t against a meal out, we would rather it be an event, a meal with friends, or a new place, not just because we don’t want to or have nothing to cook for dinner.
You, too, can find immense benefit from planning your meals. From reduced stress in the evening, to saved money, to knowing your family is eating well. The benefits of meal planning truly show for themselves.
To receive this free printable and more, sign up below to gain access to my free printables vault!
Let me know your tips for meal planning and how the meal planning printable works for you!
If you are looking for further tips on how to make meal planning easier see parts TWO and THREE of this series.
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