Meal planning for you and your child has never been easier with these tips. I’ve found that meal planning is the best way to create healthy meals that are easy, cheap, and taste great. And with our economy in the current state it’s in and grocery and gas prices where they are. Every. Dollar. Matters.
In this article, I’m going to share some of my top tips for making it easy to plan out your family’s meals each week so that you can focus on more important things (like spending time together as a family).
Planning ahead can help you save money, as well as time. It can also help reduce stress when you know what is going to be for dinner. Planning ahead is important because it means that you don’t have to make last minute decisions about what you are going to cook for dinner. That 5 o’clock rush is no joke and the stress that comes along with it wears me out.
When planning your meals, keep in mind that there are many different kinds of recipes available online and in magazines (if you like to take it old school with me). Be creative when planning your meals but remember that simple meals work! You don’t have to cook a Pinterest worthy dinner every night. In fact, I would recommend (if you’re not making a lot of things from scratch) that 4-5 ingredient dishes are the absolute best!
Adopt a less is more attitude.
- Don’t be afraid to use leftovers. You can easily freeze a meal and then reheat it, or you can make something in advance and save the rest for later. This is my particular favorite way to do it!
- Don’t be afraid to use store-bought items. If you know you’re going to be strapped for time or just not feel like cooking when you get home from work, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing something at the store that will help add variety and ease into your daily meal planning process. A great example of this is pre-cut veggies, or anything prepared ahead that is from the produce section.
- Don’t be afraid to buy frozen items. Frozen veggies are generally cheaper than fresh ones, but they’re still tasty and nutritious! Plus, frozen fruits are great snacks for kids on the go (and adults too). My kids absolutely love frozen blueberries.
- Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk if it helps cut down costs at home as well as saving money on gas if you shop at big box stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. We love Sam’s! I do have to be careful because they
- Try to always have some foods stored up so that if someone gets sick or is under the weather there will always be something easy for them eat instead of having them go out into public where they might spread their illness around even more than usual.
Think outside the grocery store.
Many of us are familiar with the old adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but what about a free meal? When it comes to saving money on groceries for your family, there are several ways you can do so. First and foremost is to use coupons. Coupons are available in newspapers or delivered directly to your email inbox. You can also find them online at sites like Coupons.com and Redplum.com.
I use coupons on my apps that I order groceries from such as Target. They have their Circle program that lets you “clip” coupons while you shop in the app.
Another way to save money when shopping at the grocery store is by clipping manufacturer coupons from various products that you regularly purchase; many manufacturers offer these coupons through their websites or mailers sent directly to your home address.
Additionally, some stores offer double couponing deals (where you get twice the amount of savings) which makes buying items more affordable than ever before! Where we live I can use coupons on top of sales and it is extremely helpful.
Buy in bulk and preserve what you can’t eat right away.
- Buy in bulk when it is on sale
- Pickle, freeze, and dehydrate what you can’t eat right away
- Canning is an excellent way to preserve food as well, but it is also the most time consuming
I also love using this for when I am able to “batch cook.” For example, spaghetti sauce is something that I often end up with extras from. I like to put them in jars instead of normal left-over storage. The key to doing this is to fill the jars all the way to the top, so that no air gets trapped. Then freeze once cooled.
Don’t be afraid to purchase frozen options.
If you are looking for a great way to save money on your grocery bill, don’t be afraid to purchase frozen options. Frozen vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh options and are picked at the peak time for best nutrients. They also make it easy to prepare healthy meals with little effort.
Some brands of frozen vegetables come bagged in their own steamable bags, making them super convenient and easy-to-use for busy families on the go. If you have kids who don’t like eating certain foods (like broccoli), try giving them a taste test before deciding if they can handle it raw or cooked!
Meal prep is key!
It’s time to get serious about meal planning. If you’re ready to make healthy meals for your family, but don’t know where to start, this guide will show you how.
So why does meal prep matter? It makes life easier on everyone involved. As a parent with busy work and home schedules, it’s much harder to order unhealthy takeout or pizza when there’s homemade food waiting in the kitchen that can be prepared in just minutes.
Meal prepping also helps with saving money since most grocery stores have weekly bargains on bulk items like meat and produce—and when buying these items by the pound it is cheaper than buying them individually!
Plus, dining out is expensive. If we consider how much money families spend eating out each week compared with what they would save if they made their own meals at home instead of going out regularly…well let’s just say the numbers could shock anyone who thinks they’re doing okay financially!
Prep Individual Ingredients instead of Meals
This is something that works for some and doesn’t for others. You will have to determine which is best for your family. I would advise trying it out to see because if it works for you it can make things so much easier.
I like doing things like boiled eggs, chicken breast, etc. In order to use these items for me and my kids, I will make them a “luchable” type lunch with crackers, fruit, cheese, and for myself I’ll throw it in a salad. This way I have prepped my ingredients and used it for me and my kids with ease. This is just an example. But again, I think it’s worth a try.
Starting a meal plan early saves you time and money in the long run, and it helps your kids eat healthier food!
Meal planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family. It saves time, money, and sanity during busy weeks. It also helps your kids eat healthier food and teaches them about healthy eating habits.
There are a lot of benefits to meal planning that make it worth doing even if you don’t think it will work for your family.
Meal planning can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. These tips are easy and simple enough that anyone can do them! The key is to start early, so that by the time your child goes back to school or starts a new activity like dance class, you’re ready with food that tastes great and will keep them full and happy all day long.
While these tips are great and I hope they are helpful to you and your family, you can also check out my 12 Tips to Meal Plan Easily. These 12 steps walk you through meal planning from start to end.