Meal planning has become all the rage with busy families all across the country and for good reason. Meal planning saves you money, organizes your family, maximizes your cooking ability and even minimizes food waste. The best part is that meal planning is incredibly easy. Learning to meal plan is not hard at all, but it does require some dedication. Learn how to make a family meal plan with these basic steps.
:: Purchase a Family Calendar
The first step is to head out and get a family calendar. The best kind is the dry erase boards that you can post pretty much anywhere. This dry erase board should be fairly large and have a calendar imprinted on it. I like this one. Many people make this calendar their family organization board. It can cover meal planning, family functions, appointments and schedules. Anything that happens within your family should be posted on this board so that everyone is informed. Post this family calendar somewhere where everyone will see it each day.
:: Gather Your Family Together
The next step is to get your family in one place at one time. While this sounds incredibly easy, it might be more challenging than you think. The reason behind organizing your family in this manner is because you will need their input and more importantly their commitment to make meal planning work.
:: Make a List of Your Favorite Meals
Have everyone make a list of all of their favorite meals and then compare notes. Make sure that everyone gets at least one meal added to the meal plan. All of the favorite meals can be put into a bowl and then rotated through the schedule. If you are looking for some great ideas, be sure to check out my What’s For Dinner board on Pinterest!
:: Write Down All the Ingredients For Each Meal
Before you put all of the meals on the schedule, right down a master list of all of the meals you plan to include. On each meal, write down every single ingredient you need to make that particular dish. Many people do this on index cards or the computer so that they will have an easy to reference database.
:: Schedule All Meals for the Week
Next, you will pick seven meals for the seven days of the week. This, of course, can be fluid if there are days that you are not going to be eating at home. Like we usually eat out Friday nights. Pick out however many meals you intend to have that week. For each meal, get out their respective ingredients cards and compare them to one another. Look for areas where you can connect logical meals. This can help you to utilize leftovers or extra ingredients more efficiently. Schedule your meals for the coming week accordingly and write them on the family calendar so everyone knows what to expect.
:: Compile a Shopping List
From your ingredients card, see what you already have on hand. Whatever you are missing and need from the grocery store, right down a concise grocery list. Take this list with you to the grocery store and purchase only what you need. This method should help you to save a great deal on your grocery bill.
:: Stick to the Plan!
The last part is the toughest of all. Now you have to follow through with the meal plan that you put in place. I tried to make it a little easier with this FREE Printable Meal Plan Calendar. If you get into a pattern of doing that, you will quickly notice that it organizes your life in many ways. Things that used to be a hassle will suddenly become easier and your wallet will be a little heavier. Meal planning is fantastic!
Do you have any meal planning tips that work for your family?