I have a confession to make… I hate meal planning. I really do. I sit down and usually make it waaay more complicated than it needs to be, turn it into a mess and then we order 4 of the 7 nights in the week and I’m annoyed with myself.
After trudging through meal planning, trying, failing them trying again, here are my top five tips to keep meal planning simple.
- Cook in large quantities – when I’m cooking chicken, I tend to cook a few extra breasts or thighs so I can work them into other meals during the week. I can use them for my lunches or the baby’s meals. Keeping my contact with slimy chicken to a minimum is the real bonus.
- Keep it simple – I can’t stress this enough. Do you have meals you know work for your family? Plan those in rotation with maybe one new meal during the week. This will keep it familiar and easy when you get home after a long day at work.
- Prep ingredients right away – this takes a little time, but well worth it in the long run. When you unload the groceries from the store prep them so they are ready to work with. Wash and chop the Romine so it’s in a bag ready to be tossed in a bowl. Wash and dry the fruit so it’s ready to eat, portion anything that comes in larger packages that you eat during the week. Anything that will help you prepare meals and eat faster.
- Write down the menu for the week – I write out the menu for the week and then put it on the fridge. This way everyone knows what is happening for the week. With all of the favorite meals on rotation no one will have anything to complain about.
- Work in leftovers – When I meal plan, I plan with the week in mind. It’s rare we need seven new meals every night of the week. My husband or I are often out at least one of the nights at an event and we like to leave one night open for ordering. Realistically I plan for four meals during the week, knowing we will dip into leftovers for one night.
Keep it simple and have fun! Cooking can be a great way to unwind at the end of a long day, especially if you’ve set yourself up with a little prep and planning.