In college, I remember how I was used to my family’s eating schedule. It was what I was raised on, but it didn’t marry too well with my school schedule. By keeping my usual schedule, I would find myself eating in class and at work which meant I would be snacking on junk food all day. To avoid the constant sugar crashes and to management my time better I started meal planning. It became second nature which gave me real energy, better health, and saved me a lot of time and money over the years. If you are looking to fast start your family meal planning, grab a notebook and follow these three easy steps.
Meal Time Musts
First, you must identify the meal times and the must-haves. My family must have breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. Once you have your categories, write what items you must have for each meal time which should be a lot of fun. My youngest, Zaya, would have breakfast all day and at every meal time if we allowed her to. If you ask her, she “must-have” pancakes.
This is where you take your must-haves and plan seven days worth of meals. A seven-day schedule is chosen in order to keep our food fresh and visits to the market down to four per month. We actually come up with themes. No meat Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Breakfast for Dinner-day is Wednesday (Zaya chose and named this one, and over the years, we’ve all enjoyed), Italian Thursdays, and Pizza Night is Friday, etc. Of course, have fun with it and be flexible to try new things, rearrange meals, or make a game out of it like we do. We also give each family member a day and they make the menu for that day.
Now it’s time to dissect the menu and make a grocery list. To be frugal, consider what you already have on hand in your fridge and cupboards. This makes more ‘cents’ to splurge on fine meats or orangic produce. It’s very important that you have a weekly budget just for food as this will help to eliminate picking up unnecessary items. Although there’s always extra room in the cart, this way there’s no extra room in your budget. It’s always a good idea to plan your meals on the day you get coupons in the local newspaper. Then you can plan your menu, and maybe do your shopping on Sunday.
There you have it. Three easy steps to meal planning. Have you started a meal planning schedule? Is meal planning for you? What are some benefits of your meal planning? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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