On Stories, when I asked you what you were most interested in or needed the most help with in organizing and productivity, I was flooded with responses! It seems we all have areas we struggle with and many of us have too much to do and never enough time! By far, the overwhelming majority of you said you wanted tips with meal planning and I totally get that! The struggle is real with “what’s for dinner?” We go through that in our house too. I’m not above admitting that some nights it’s cereal for dinner! It happens!
But, you don’t need help choosing a cereal, you need a plan! So today, I’m going to share how I meal plan for our family of 4 and hopefully, this is helpful for your own family.
1. Pick one day a week to meal plan
I think the hardest thing about meal planning is just setting aside a certain time of day each week to do it. Then, plan for grocery shopping. Then, plan for cooking. It’s not that difficult to choose the meals you want to eat in a week, but you have to figure out what those meals will be, plot out the ingredients, shop for them, then make the meal. Do you have a set time each week for that? If not, write that out now!
On Saturday mornings, after I’ve gotten the kids breakfast made and they’re playing, I sit down with my cup of coffee and make a meal plan for the week. I actually love this part of my Saturday morning. I might actually escape to my room for 30 minutes so I won’t have kids crawling all over me while I do it!
2. plan your meals according to your activities
Before I plan what we’re going to eat each night, I figure out what’s going on in our week. If we have sports or something, I won’t have time to cook a big meal, so I plan for something fast, use the slow cooker, or eat leftovers that night.
Also, it’s easy to meal plan if you eat certain things on repeat. For example, for breakfast, I always have either a protein pancake or oatmeal. I might put peanut butter on my pancake, or change up the toppings on my oatmeal, but that’s what I eat every single day. I really haven’t gotten bored of it because I like both of those things, but every once in awhile I might change it up and have peanut butter on toast or bacon and eggs.
For lunch, you might often have a chicken salad or soup and a sandwich with some fruit. Easy peasy.
3. check your fridge/freezer/pantry
I’ve been working at getting better at seeing what’s inside our pantry, and planning meals around that.
If you are out of meal ideas (we ALL get in ruts!), type in “healthy dinners” into Pinterest, Food Network, Google or AllRecipes.com and have a million options at your fingertips. Or search “30 minute meals” or “chicken dinner” if you have chicken on hand, but not a clue what to do with it.
Last year, I wrote out a long list of meals (with where the recipe came from) that we like to eat and put it inside my recipe binder, so I’ll often pull that out for ideas. I’m usually surprised that I forgot, “oh yeah, we like spaghetti carbonara” or whatever and add that to the meal plan.
I also LOVE reading through my cookbooks and getting ideas from there.
Another way to think of meals is to always eat a certain type of food on a certain day, for example:
Italian/Chinese/Indian – Wednesday
Salads on Thursday – doesn’t have to just be lettuce and tomatoes! Think pasta salad, bean salad, noodle salad . . .
Pizza on Friday – you can make your own!
Saturday – dinner out or order in
And honestly, we only cook about 3 dinners a week. The rest is leftovers! And once a week we go out or order in!
4. Look at store sales
I don’t use coupons unless I’m shopping online and there’s a virtual coupon right there with the item. I just find them too time consuming and not worth it. But, I will browse the sales and see if there’s anything that catches my eye that I can get at a bargain and incorporate that into our meals.
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5. Plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day
Especially if you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight, plan what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It helps to do this the night before as opposed to on the spot because if you don’t set your plan, chances are what you “want” to eat may be different from what you’ve “planned” to eat. Am I right?!
So, once you have your meal plan ready, you’ve written out what you need to shop for, go to the grocery store only once a week! We go on Saturday, but either: 1) just my husband will go to the store while I stay home with the kids; 2) we all go as a family; or 3) I order online and one of us goes to pick them up.
Ordering groceries online has been really handy! It costs $5 at my store for pickup and you can even get them delivered for $12. Have y’all tried that? Because shopping with kids . . .
He said she hit him with that box! Poor guy!
SHOP ATHLETIC WEAR
Of course at the beginning of the new year I’ve been extra motivated to workout and eat healthy. The athletic wear I’m wearing in this post is all from Nordstrom and they have a huge selection of quality workout clothes! I usually shop online because #time, but also because their website is super easy to navigate with big, clear bright photos. And the free shipping and free returns makes it a no brainer.
If you need a really good sports bra for running, I recommend the this one! It’s super comfortable and you can adjust the velcro shoulder straps. No more doubling up on sports bras to run!
Trust me, you will love these joggers! They are perfect for running around in too and super lightweight. XXS is my perfect size in them.
This sports bra is great for low impact sports and I like it for weight lifting. It has a cute keyhole back too!
Definitely invest in a good pair of no show socks if you haven’t already. This is my current preferred pair that stays put and doesn’t make my feet sweat!
My sneakers are pretty and functional, unfortunately, sizes are limited!
These high waist crop leggings are my go-to for working out. The high waist makes me feel less self-conscious and they feel great on!
Now that you’ve got your meal plans ready and your new athletic wear – what’s for dinner this week?! I’m looking for some new recipes 😉
Affiliate links used in collaboration with Nordstrom.