does anyone else get overwhelmed at the thought of having to decide what to cook for weeknight meals? and then throw in that you want the meals to be healthy and nutritious and the overwhelmed factor goes way up! toss in a little work travel and then everything just goes to the birds!
i have found one thing that totally saves my family during these busy times and helps to keep us all a little more sane – meal planning. now, this is no easy task either but if you will spend a little time on the weekend then you will be amazed at how well dinner goes the rest of the week.
we personally like to divide this task up a little. we suggest planning your week’s meals on thursday night. hear us out… sit down in a comfy chair with old fashioned pen and paper and write down meal 1, move along to meal 2 and so on. i personally do not care what meal is eaten on which night. if you do, then just write monday, tuesday, etc. search pinterest for ideas using ingredients you know your family loves. some of our favorite go-to places to find recipes are 100 days of real food, skinny taste and allrecipes, while some of our most recent search terms are quick and easy, kid-friendly, and crockpot meals. trust us.
now that you have your meals planned now is the time to list out all the ingredients that you need for each meal. try to be in the kitchen to do this and that way you can do a quick check on the items if any doubt at all if they’re in the cabinet. taking the time to do this step makes it easier when you begin cooking. you won’t have time to stop and run back to the store for something you are missing.
if you happen to find yourself with an hour while waiting on your kiddo for soccer practice or ballet lesson one night during the week, try to make yourself not turn to facebook or instagram but instead use that hour to save time later! go ahead and plan your meals and make that grocery list. if in doubt on an item, write it on the grocery list. then, the night before you plan to go to the store check your list real quick and take a peek at any questionable items.
saturday mornings are the top time to carve out to head to the grocery store to get all my items. the world seems to be shuffling their kids off to soccer games, and i get the aisles to myself. take advantage of your smartphone and download anylist. you can make a list and share it with the family. that way if hubby finds himself with some time friday or saturday before i do, he can run to the store. he already has the list and can knock it out real quick! no leaving the list behind at home!
time to cook! i usually spend about 4-5 hours on sunday afternoon in the kitchen getting the meals prepared and cooked. let’s be honest, there are a 1000 things i would rather be doing but… i find that when i am all through, i feel so ahead for the week. i also get pretty excited knowing that the family will have good, nutritious meals and that the emergency fast food drive through can be postponed for another week!
let us know your meal planning tips. this time of year, we all can use as much as help as we can get! see you in the kitchen!