Meal Planning 101-Or My Version of It!!

Like most everyone else I am busy, busy, busy!

I often struggle with what to fix for dinner for my family because I am often working in the evening. Dinner needs to be healthy, not take forever to fix and able to be kept warm for a while!

Last week, I blogged about my instapot and how I use it for many of my meals! It really is a life saver, but there are times I don’t want to use it for every meal!

I am really bad about flying by the seat of my pants and that really adds stress when figuring out what to fix. If you’re like me, you don’t need anymore stress in your life!

So, I am going back to what has worked for me in the past!

Meal Planning-

When my boys were younger, I was primarily a SAHM. We also homeschooled them and they were always in lots of activities and sports. I had to maximize my time and budget every week!

So I meal planned!

Now that my boys are young adults and have their own schedules(two are still at home for now), I am finding now I am the one who is always busy! I am reverting back to my plan that always worked back then!

Here I share my method for meal planning. It’s not perfect and I am sure there are better ideas! But this works for me!

There Are Several Options-

One option:

– I know people who make a list of recipes, gather their ingredients, then cook several of the same or variations of meals and freeze.

-Some cook hamburger, chicken breasts, even rice and freeze them as well.

Both types usually keep a list of food prepared and how it can be used as well as cooking instructions.

I never seem to have the extra time to make things ahead, but that is a great, easy option!

My method:

-Get a notebook, shopping list or you can copy this sheet and print off. (By : http://www.papertraildesign.com).

-I only plan for dinners-not all meals! I do have breakfast and lunch options on hand!

-I find recipes I want to make. I may go through cookbooks or look up recipes online. AllRecipes.com, foodnetwork.com and just simply google some recipes! I also have some family recipes that are popular with our family!

-Next, I look at what staples I have on hand-flour, sugar, baking powder and spices. I make a list of what I am in need of.

-Then I look over the recipes and make a list of ingredients that I need!

-I always make sure I have one extra super easy meal on hand incase I need a quick back up. I usually will let the guys pick it out. So its usually unhealthy! Pizza rolls, frozen pizza or chicken nuggets are usually their choice! But I will usually have salad or fresh fruit as a side available as well. It will balance out-I guess! LOL

-I always plan for salads, fresh veggies(celery, carrots, broccoli and cucumbers) and fresh fruits. It can make a meal a lot healthier!

Keep It Simple-

Whatever you plan, keep the recipes simple unless you are into making complex meals!

For me, it usually needs to be 30 minutes or less, not have a ton ingredients and not take every pan I have in my kitchen!

I promise I’m not lazy, just busy!!

I also find that too many ingredients and flavors can easily be messed up! I will often play it safe!

One rule I do have is have several colors on your plate or recipe! Bright colors in your veggies will ensure you are getting a good mix of vitamins and antioxidants!

What About You?

Do you have a method for meal planning?

Do you plan ahead?

Care to share some good recipes? I am always looking for new recipes!!

Please share!

Here’s to good eating!

-Amy