3-Simple Meal Planning Steps For Busy Moms
I know your mind can only handle so much information, so I'm here to help make meal planning as easy as 1-2-3. Forget those blogs that give you a million steps to meal planning.
You are a BUSY MOM, and I understand that adding another task to your to-do list can be daunting. You might even think it's easier to fly by the seat of your pants when putting dinner on the table. But do you realize you've already made over 100 food decisions by dinner time? And that doesn't even include all of the other decisions you have made throughout the day. EXHAUSTING...
Your brain is TIRED of making another decision (Decision Fatigue), so you pop another frozen pizza in the oven or drive through Chick-fil-A again. After all, it's chicken, so it can't be too bad.
Making THESE FOOD CHOICES when your mind is rested and ready can save you time, mental energy, and money. In addition, it can save your family from eating unhealthy foods day after day. Of course, an occasional frozen pizza or grilled chicken doesn't hurt if you have planned for it.
Now, I admit I'm a bit of a planning nerd, or maybe it's the satisfaction I get when I don't have to think about what we will eat or how I will spend my time. I feel a surge of excitement when I glance at my calendar, and everything is already there, written in beautiful colors to please the visual processor in me. I know what we will eat each evening for dinner, what ingredients are needed...AND, if I want to change my mind, that's ok. But I've given myself the freedom of not thinking about it.
My beloved, busy mom!
I want to help you feel relaxed and carefree
after a long, tiring day.
Here are 3 Simple Steps to make meal planning a breeze. In addition,
I have some printable tools for you to download to help you on your meal-planning journey.
Cue The Confetti
First and foremost, let's talk about ATTITUDE.
We're in this adventure together, and I'm here for you every step of the way.
This process can be easy and enjoyable. So let's put on a happy face, grab your tutu if needed, and get ready to rock and roll.
Next, we'll start SIMPLE.
We'll take it one week at a time.
Eventually, you'll be able to plan meals for a whole month without breaking a sweat. But for now, let's stick to one week at a time.
Put on some music, light a candle (grab that tutu), and let's dive in.
THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE MEAL PLANNING A BREEZE
1. SET ASIDE TIME IN YOUR SCHEDULE TO MEAL PLAN.
What doesn't get on the calendar doesn't get done.
So, my friend. If you REALLY want to take away the stress of managing your family meals,
BLOCK TIME TO MEAL PLAN ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW.
Time Block Hints:
Avoid scheduling it at the end of the day when you're already experiencing decision fatigue. Try blocking off an hour on a weekend morning or afternoon to plan all your dinners for the coming week.
I suggest you block 2 hours. You will soon be a pro and have the confidence to plan your family dinners in less than 60 minutes.
2. CATEGORIZE AND BRAINSTORM
I know you are thinking… "that's two things, Misty." Remember, I'm here to help you. If you download my FREE Meal Planning Tools, you'll see I already have the categories listed for you on a 'brain dump' page.
Start with protein types like chicken, ground beef, pork, red meat, fish/seafood, and vegetarian dishes. Categorize sides, salads, potato dishes, pasta/rice, and more.
Once you have your categories, brainstorm dishes you and your family already enjoy within each category.
Remember, the goal is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
No need to get out your Martha Stewart cookbook to come up with creative menu ideas.
3. FILL IN THE CALENDAR WITH YOUR MEALS
Use the ONE WEEK Menu (feel free to print a few copies)
Begin by blocking off the evenings when you won't be cooking, such as when you have plans to eat out, or everyone will be gone. FREE SPACE FOR YOU MOM.
Consider designating one night a week as "Pizza Night" or another theme to simplify planning. We currently do pizza every Sunday evening. So I keep pizza fixins stocked.
Try a new dish once a week. If this isn't in your wheelhouse of capabilities… don't stress. Just say NO…
Keep a document or list of menu ideas to save yourself the time and stress of thinking up new meals each week. (This was STEP 2)
I would keep a document on my computer of all the menu ideas I had used over the years and categorize them (I still do this). Then, when I'm ready to plan meals for the week (or month), I pull out my menu list and have 40+ ideas right at my fingertips. It's one less thing I have to think about.
Dedicating time to meal planning is a win in itself.
So, block off that time, baby, and get started.
Be sure to GRAB My Free Brain Dump & Menu Templates.
As a bonus, those who download my FREE Meal Planning Tools will receive some of my favorite recipes from years gone by over the next few weeks.