Meal Planning: Take the stress out of dinnertime!

Take the stress out of dinnertime by having a PLAN. Meal planning will not only save your sanity, it will:

  • Save You Money
  • Improve Nutrition
  • Save You Time
  • Reduce Stress
  • Make Dinnertime Enjoyable For The Whole Family

You know the story, it’s around 5:00 p.m. and a sense of panic, even anxiety wells up inside of you as dinnertime approaches because you realize you have no idea what you are going to fix for dinner.

You look in the refrigerator, the freezer, the pantry, and then you look in the refrigerator AGAIN, just in case you missed something the first time. What to fix for dinner? Nothing is coming to you.

Even worse, is when you have to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. You are tired, hungry and just want to get home. You end up aimlessly wandering the isles of the store in a paralyzed state of overwhelm hoping something will pop out at you.

Not a great state of mind to be in for nutritious meal planning! This is usually when you grab the high processed, sugar and fat laden foods, because it is something quick and easy. Can anyone relate?

Can your mood effect the energy of your food?

It is my belief that thoughts and emotions have energy, and energy effects everything around us. So if you are in a stressed state while preparing food, could that effect the food you are preparing? I believe it can.

So, even if you are just chopping up veggies, or making a simple grilled cheese sandwich, choose to do it with love. It is much easier to do it out of LOVE if you are not stressed.

Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated.

It does require a LITTLE of your time, but the benefits are SO worth it. When I have a menu set up, my whole life runs better.

meal planning tips that work for me

clip calendar

1-Get some kind of planner form

This clipboard calendar is one of my favorite ways to plan my menus. It is SIMPLE, attractive in my kitchen and works great to clip to my fridge or bulletin board so the whole family can see.

The magnetic clip shown in the photo above, is one of my favorites. I use them all over the house to hang things. They work really well for my menu calendar.

There are several ways to make a menu plan out there. It can be as simple as a calendar, phone app, or an on-line program.

If you prefer something simple like a clipboard calendar, or one-page forms (like I do), these printable forms are great. You can print them as needed.

I like to display the menu in the kitchen where everyone can see. This way you can easily delegate food preparation to someone else if needed.

2-Decide how detailed you want to get with your meal plan

meal planning forms

I offer 3 different menu planning forms in my Etsy shop. A weekly menu, 2 week menu, and a detailed daily menu planner.

Do you want to plan out each meal, or just dinners?

weekly menu planner

If you are following a strict diet or want to plan all three meals and even snacks, this weekly meal planning form works great.

2 week menu

This 2 week menu planner, includes a shopping list that comes in handy when it comes time to go shopping. As you assign meals you can easily jot down the ingredients you need to buy.

Do you want to plan for one week or two weeks?

I find a two week dinner menu works great for my family.

3-Gather your recipe resourcescookbooks

Get out your recipe books, magazine recipe clippings, and check your Pinterest boards for some great ideas.

meal planning booksIt is funny how you can get in a rut and eat the same things over and over and forget about certain foods.

Don’t be afraid to try some new things. Maybe incorporate a new recipe each week. Some people have certain nights of the week for certain types of foods. Like ” TACO TUESDAYS” or we have “FREE FOR ALL FRIDAYS”. Whatever works for you and your family. Just find something that works and go with it.

4-Assign meals to fit your schedule

Don’t plan on fixing a big, labor intensive meal on the nights you have a lot going on. You can even delegate and have someone else prepare the meal. My husband and daughter are more than willing to prepare dinner if I have already decided what to fix.

5-Create a shopping list2 week menu planner

Once you have a week or two weeks planned out, go through your menu and write down the items you will need to buy at the store.

This will save you so much time and money because you are not making repeated trips to the store. Repeated trips to the store, means extra gas money and unnecessary items that you may be tempted to buy that you don’t really need.

6-Clip coupons 

Keep coupons that are needed for the trip to the grocery store all in the same place.

coupon envelope

This is a printable grocery envelope coupon holder is available in the menu planner set.

Now this step is optional for the coupon queens out there. I used to be, but not so much anymore. I do a lot of my shopping at Costco where they don’t take coupons. So if you do use coupons, cut them out and place them in an envelope ready to go.

7-Be flexible

If something comes up, or for some reason the meal you have schedule just doesn’t sound good that night, fix something else on your menu.

Find a time during the week that works for you to sit down and plan your menu. I find Sunday evenings is a good time for me to sit down, look at my week ahead a do a little menu planning.

Now that it is just my husband and I, we sit down together and plan out the menu. That way he has some say in what we’re eating and what he will be preparing. (Yes, my husband has agreed to help prepare some of the meals). I should have incorporated that a long time ago.

the benefit of meal planning

Oh, you are going to love the peace and assurance when 5:00 p.m. rolls around and you already know what you are fixing for dinner! Yahoo!

I will admit, I have fallen off the wagon a little and need to get back in the groove. So tomorrow, it’s menu planning time! I am ready for some structure in my life again and I hope you are too.

Happy Planning!




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