As a WAHM, meal planning can be difficult. Creating a weekly meal plan can make your life run more smoothly. The small time investment required to plan will be appreciated throughout the week when you don't have to worry each day about what to make for dinner. Additionally, a plan will help you eliminate extra grocery shopping trips and can even improve your family's daily nutrition. Here are some tips for creating a weekly meal plan that will work for you.
Do an online search for meal planning chart template, and you can easily find a free blank chart to print out. This will give you an organized place to plan. When you're starting weekly meal planning, it's simplest to just plan dinners. Later, you can plan lunches and breakfasts as well.
Sunday Night Plan Session
Of course you can create your weekly meal plan anytime that is convenient, but Sunday night works well since the workweek begins the next day. Along with menus for each night, create a separate shopping list of all the ingredients needed. This shopping list is just as valuable as the meal plan, because it lists in one place all the items you need from the store. One stop at the grocery store should be enough to prepare your entire weekly meal plan!
As you plan, keep weekly grocery shopping ads nearby. If you plan meals around sale items, you can save even more money.
OrgJunkie.com is a site you can bookmark for meal planning. Each Monday, the site hosts Menu Plan Monday, and dozens of women post their menu plans for the week. This is an invaluable source of menu ideas and recipes.
Note Family Favorites
As you begin planning meals, make note of meals your family enjoys. If the recipes are online, bookmark or favorite them. If they are in a cookbook, mark them with sticky notes. If you have many favorite recipes clipped from newspapers or magazines, glue them onto pages in a binder. These tips will ensure that you always have quick access to a recipe for a family favorite meal.
After each meal, write notes on your weekly meal plan. Was the meal a success with the family? Would you make any changes to the recipe? Save your completed meal plans and you can use them again.
Create a Routine
Just the act of creating a weekly meal plan will help your household run more smoothly. After you have created plans for a few weeks, you will probably form some routines: pizza night on Fridays, leftovers on Tuesdays, or whatever works for your family. These routines are great because they give you fewer meals to plan each week. Family members often enjoy the familiarity of predictable meal nights as well.
Beginning to create a weekly meal plan can seem daunting at first, but don't be intimidated by the process. Jump right in, and before you know it, the savings and health benefits will make you wonder why you didn't try meal planning sooner.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.