Inside: a simple family meal planning method that’s making my life 10x easier
It’s 3 pm. About time to start prepping dinner.
I check my current meal planning method (a little chalkboard hanger in our kitchen that I often forget to update). Aaaaand that’s when I realize I should have thrown the chicken into the crockpot at NOON.
But I didn’t.
And it’s still frozen.
It might not be such a big deal, but I’ve already forgotten the same meal twice this week and have ran out of other options. I run to check the cabinets for any meal I can throw together that won’t require meat (since it’s all frozen), but sadly we’re all out of pasta sauce. And our fridge is looking a little bare.
So we order pizza. Or go to Taco Bell. EVEN THOUGH we keep promising to stop eating out so much.
I wish this was a rare occurrence, but sadly, it’s not.
So I’m trying something new.
Why Meal Plan?
Let’s back up a hot second. Because before the cute (but for me, useless) chalkboard method, I DIDN’T MEAL PLAN AT ALL. If you think I sound like a hot mess now, hold my coffee because you haven’t seen anything yet.
I would just wing it. At the grocery store. At meal time. And here’s what would happen:
- we wasted money on food like nobody’s business
- some nights, I wouldn’t get dinner on the table until 7
- we bought too much produce, and it would spoil
- I’d end up not having everything I needed to make whatever meal I came up with for the day, so I’d have to make mini trips to the store throughout the week
- did I mention we wasted A LOT of money?
So when I tell you I NEED a meal plan, believe me. I’m sure some people can function without one. My mom is one of those people. But while I like to wing it, I thrive within the structure of a well-thought-out (but flexible) plan.
The Right Fit
Not all meal planning methods are created equal. And what works best for your family may not work for mine.
So while there are lots of moms who do well with a simple chalkboard, that just doesn’t cut it for this procrastinator momma. I need something more fluid that can easily be switched around when things don’t go to plan.
Plus, when I’d sit down to write out the weekly plan, I’d spend way too much time trying to remember our staple meals while also not repeating the same 7 every week.
A Simple Meal Planning Method for families
So what’s the new meal plan method I’m using?
How it Works
It sounds so simple because it is.
In this house, we have our staple meals (tried and true that I know everyone will mostly eat), and I occasionally whip up a random recipe to try out.
And that’s the real simplicity of this method. Instead of always writing out what we’ll be eating (and then erasing and rewriting when I inevitably have to switch things around), I now use my own pre-printed meal magnets and just arrange them as I decide what we’ll be eating.
Instead of hanging in a spot of our kitchen where I’m prone to forget it, our new meal plan is on our fridge, directly in my face while I get the kids breakfast, snacks, and lunch, giving me reminders throughout the day leading up to dinner. So it’s way less likely (though not impossible) that our meat will be frozen when it should already be cooking.
Psst.. DISCLOSURE: some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. That just means if you click on them and make a purchase, I make small portion of the profit (at NO additional cost to you)!
get it for free!
Since I made myself these cards, I thought I’d share them with you too. The printable includes both a blank sheet that you can write your own meal staples on as well as my sheet full of our family’s favorites. To download and print, subscribe below (unsubscribe at any time. It’s NEVER my goal to hold people hostage on my email list if my content isn’t valuable for them):
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You can print it either on cardstock or use plain paper then laminate. Amazon has tiny magnets for the back of your cards here. And the magnetic fridge calendar that I use is this one, also available on Amazon.
Do you meal plan? If so, what’s your current method? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
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