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This guide to meal planning for beginners will help you get started the best way so you can save time and money.
Meal planning is a great way to stick to your budget.
When you’re sitting in traffic after an exhausting day of work, the mere thought of picking up a pan makes you want to melt into a puddle.
That’s when you decide to grab a pizza.
Or maybe you’ve cooked spaghetti so much your legs are turning into noodles.
Either way, meal planning will help you master meal time so you’re no longer staring at an empty wall debating on what to serve your family.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be a hassle. It’s a simple process that will save you a ton of time.
You can easily get started with a free meal planning kit that includes:
I’ll help you get started so you can stick with it!
Meal planning is when you plan your meals in advance. This not only saves you time, but it’s great for sticking to your budget.
You can plan your meals as far out in advance as you’d like.
Since you’re new to the process, it’s best to plan for one week at a time until you get a routine that works for you.
As an example, you can plan out your meals and make your grocery list on Fridays. Then you can go grocery shopping on Saturdays.
That way you have all of your meals and ingredients ready to go.
For a detailed example of a possible method you could use, this video does a great job explaining.
When you’re running on fumes and only a prayer is keeping you awake until bedtime, there’s no way your family is going to get a healthy dinner.
Your family either ends up eating potato chips for dinner or fast food.
By meal planning, you’ve already planned out quick easy meals that will save you time and energy. (The free meal planning kit will make it even easier to stay organized!)
It’s so simple to start the crock pot at 7 am before you leave for work and have an amazing dinner on the table with little to no effort.
It’s easy to get so excited about meal planning that you hit the ground running without a clear plan in mind.
Start with a quick simple method and build your way up to extreme organization.
You don’t need to print off weekly meal plan sheets for an entire year. Take it one week at a time and get your process mastered.
Another common mistake is spending way too much time looking on Pinterest for new recipes and now you’re on Amazon buying a new pair of shoes.
Stick to recipes you know and love before trying to venture out and try new things.
The best advice is to not give up when something goes wrong. You may realize you forgot to put corn on your grocery list.
Instead of scrapping the whole meal try using something new or replace it with another side item. Get creative!
This will save you a lot of time and money. You won’t have to run to the store every day for a tomato or bag of flour.
When you buy fresh veggies or any other fresh ingredients, plan to use those at the beginning of the week before they go bad.
To make it even simpler, you can cut up all of your veggies at the beginning of the week so you can skip that step during the cooking process.
Take advantage of coupons and cash back apps so you can save even more money.
Try going to Sam’s Club or Costco to check out their selection. You may even find items you’ve never heard of that you can incorporate into your meals.
It’s so fun to have theme nights.
You can have Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Turkey Thursday, and Fish Friday.
Make it exciting so everyone doesn’t feel like they’re eating the same things over and over.
Even though the meals are still simple, by adding variety they’ve become fun and take you less than 30 minutes to make.
This goes along with keeping it simple. You want to start out with meals you know your family loves.
These are your staple items that always need to be on your list and in your pantry at all times.
If you were supposed to go grocery shopping on Saturday and one of your kiddos gets sick, you’ll still have ingredients for a quick meal.
Always keep an inventory of the food you have on hand and the expiration dates. (The free meal planning kit has cheat sheets that help you easily keep inventory of what you have on hand.)
When you grab that jar of alfredo sauce and realize it expired 6 months ago you’ll be mad enough to punch a wall. But not hard enough to put a hole in it that you’ll have to fix.
Since most of your meals won’t be new recipes it’s a great idea to keep a list.
Write down all the meals you already know are family favorites and add new recipes to the list that you try and they enjoy.
If you have a bullet journal this is a great category to add so you can keep track of recipes all in one place.
This will help keep it simple so you’re not trying to remember if they liked that hashbrown casserole from 3 months ago.
Also, keep your old meal plans and rotate them out. There’s no need to come up with new meals every month.
Kids love when they can help. Grab a family menu and you guys can plan out meals together.
Don’t forget to include birthday parties or nights you will go out for dinner.
Just because you’re planning meals in advance doesn’t mean you have to eat at home every day.
If your kids are used to eating the occasional happy meal, schedule that for one day a month and that’ll give them something to look forward to.
This is a list of easy meals you can search for on Pinterest.
Now while you sit in traffic you can think of more important things instead of debating what you’re going to make for dinner.
Meal planning will keep you on budget by cutting one of the most expensive costs.
Your family will look forward to planning the menu in advance.