5 Great Weekly Meal Planning Ideas to Simplify Your Life
There’s no question that meal planning can save your family a lot of money, especially if you often eat out because you don’t know what to make for dinner. However, meal planning can be time-consuming, particularly when you are first starting out. With today’s hectic family life, you may not have a couple of hours on the weekend to devote to meal planning. Fortunately there are some shortcuts. Here are five weekly meal planning ideas that will save you a lot of time.
Plan your weekly menu by theme.
Have a theme for each night of the week so it narrows down the recipes you need to search through. For example, in our house Monday night is Mexican, Tuesday night is a chicken dish, Wednesday night is a beef dish, Thursday night is a Crockpot meal, Friday night is pizza. Have 2 or 3 recipes that your family enjoys for each theme night and rotate through them.
Adopt the “cook once, eat twice” philosophy of meal planning.
Rely on planned leftovers as part of your weekly meal plan and turn them into a second meal. For example, make a roasted chicken on one day and plan on using the leftover chicken to make a casserole for the next day. Utilize planned leftovers 2-3 times during the week to greatly simplify your meal planning.
Make recipe cards with complete meals including sides.
On the back write everything you need to fix the meal. Each week pick out 7 recipe cards. Then all you have to do is flip them over to compile your shopping list.
Have a four- week rotation and reuse it over and over again.
With this method, you will plan a month’s worth of meals at once. Once you have done the work, you can use the same meal plan month after month. 4 weeks of different meals is enough variety to keep you from getting bored. If you save it as a file on your computer, it is easy to substitute different meals from time to time if you come across a new recipe you want to try. If your family doesn’t mind eating the same things over and over again, you can probably get by with a 2 week plan for even less work.
Take advantage of pre-made meal plans.
If you are truly pressed for time, there are several great meal planning books that can do the work for you. Most of the books below include all the recipes you need and a shopping list. It truly doesn’t get much easier than this!
Plan It, Don’t Panic: Everything You Need to Successfully Create and Use a Meal Plan7-Day Menu Planner For DummiesThe Fresh 20: 20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a WeekMeal Plan for Life: The Almost Automatic Way to Create Menus That Fit YOUR Family and Lifestyle
Meal planning is a great way to ensure your family is fed a healthy meal at home each night. By using a few of these easy weekly meal planning ideas, you won’t ever have to worry again about what you are fixing for dinner.