Do you feel stressed thinking about putting dinner on the table after a long day? What should I make? Do I have the ingredients? Oh man, I forgot to defrost the chicken. Think about when you have your outfit ready from the night before - you just have to mindlessly put on your clothes without overthinking or spending time choosing. Imagine the days you want to wear that specific matching t-shirt but find it’s in the laundry...so annoying! Sometimes you have to change your whole outfit because of it. It’s the same with food, if you have all the ingredients and a dish decided, executing is not all that bad and can actually be pretty quickly and effortlessly.
Here are 6 tips to help you get in the habit of meal planning, so it’s not a burden and eventually comes naturally and incorporates into your routine.(Keep reading for easy meal suggestions at the end!)
1. Take out about 10 minutes on the weekend to think and jot down a menu. List out meals for each day of the coming week. Mentally knowing what's to come will save lots of time and stress during the week. After you finish making your list, check if you have all the necessary ingredients and make a grocery shopping list accordingly, so there are no last minute surprises. Get your free printable for weekly menu planning, and grocery shopping list HERE.
2. Keep the “hits” in mind - I call suppers that are easy to make and everyone loves a “hit,” these can be repeated once a week or so. Make a list of 10 go-to/hit dinners that you and your family enjoy, are quick/easy to make and you generally have the ingredients on hand for.(i.e: tacos, baked chicken with veggies, etc). Get your free printable for your go-to list HERE and put it on your fridge or in your kitchen.
3. Get ideas from your family. Ask everyone to choose their favorite dinner and you can rotate those in the week so there is variety and everybody gets a say. This also saves you from doing all thinking!
4. Try doing themed suppers (#tacotuesday is there for a reason!) This makes it a no-brainer for that day and something for everyone to look forward to.
5. Plan for leftovers!! You can allot one day for finishing up leftovers from the week. Most likely things won’t get finished every single day. This gives you a free day from cooking and helps save from food wastage.
6. Prep whatever you can at the beginning of the week. Wash and cut veggies and thaw any frozen meat in the fridge for the upcoming 2-3 days. Grains like rice and pasta don’t really require prep and can be cooked fresh on the day you’ll have it.
By having a game plan for the week and the ingredients in place it will definitely decrease the tension and chaos that otherwise almost always happens on weekdays, and will take the “whats for dinner?” question out of the picture. (Post your meal plan where everyone can see!) It’ll also help save time, money, and stress. I hope you make use of these printables included and are inspired to plan ahead for this week!
Here is a list of 85 recipes from Country Living that take 30 min or less to make and will get your creative juices flowing for what to make this week!