I shared on Instagram recently that I have been in such a meal-planning rut! I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have a hard time making the same recipes over + over again. Which honestly annoys me because life would be 1,000 times less complicated if I could just repeat recipes without getting bored. Instead, I used to spend so. much. time. Searching for the perfect recipes that fit my mood. It was so time-consuming.
I’ll also put it out there that I enjoy cooking, so trying new recipes is something of a hobby for me (which I fully recognize puts me in the minority here). Maybe you’re like me or maybe you dread meal planning because you don’t enjoy cooking or aren’t entirely confident in your cooking skills.
Either way, we do have to feed our kids. So here we are. My feelings about finding recipes aside, I do have to say I have perfected my approach to meal planning. And bless you if you have that down pat. Bonus points if you manage to meal prep, too (I cannot for the life of me fit that into my weekends).
My goal is for you to spend less time on managing the household + put that back into the things that matter more to you. Hopefully some of that includes spending a little extra time together each week as a family!
So let’s break this down into super digestible steps. I’ll walk you through the general framework + then the 3-step process that I fly through weekly. (I seriously got this done in <20 min. this week.)
And if you read this + want to give it a try, don’t miss the meal-planning template exclusive to email subscribers. Fill out the form + follow the link. There’s seriously no reason to recreate what has already been created for you!
Choose the day/time that makes the most sense to plan meals for the week ahead + schedule it into your calendar. For me, my lunch break on Thursdays is dedicated to just that. I find that I need the list for Saturday’s grocery run. Doing the planning on Thursday gives me Friday as a buffer just in case something keeps me from getting it done as originally planned.
Love paper? Me too. But for this one, we are going electronic. Here’s why: too many recipes are online these days! Listing everything in this doc means that you can link straight to the recipe—no more keeping track of all those pieces of paper! Better still, when you’re at the grocery store, you have access to everything right in your phone for those days when you forget your paper copy at home.
The next thing you need is to think through the meals you’re planning for the week. Since I work, I take all of my lunches, so my table would just say ‘leftovers’ down the lunch column, so I don’t plan that.
Of course, when I’m off for the summer, our planning table looks completely different because I do plan lunches + snacks for the kids, but I set that up with a rotation that is easy to repeat so I’m not reinventing the wheel. If you’re doing this regularly, I definitely recommend trying out a meal rotation for your kids!
The first thing to do is plug in any recipes that caught your eye recently. Maybe they’re saved in your IG, on Pinterest, or bookmarked. Compile them here. Have a magazine clipping? Snap a pic + add it to the doc. Moving forward, any recipe that you’re really interested in gets added to this list.
To help you out, the template included in this post features the Spring 2020 Family-Favorite Recipes. It has 12 proven recipes that were contributed by women in the Because of Jericho community, so trust me when I say this: You don’t want to miss it!
For breakfasts, I have to keep that super simple, so I have a daily rotation of 5 meals that the kids have every week. Done.
So now is when that running list from step 1 comes into play. If you update that list often enough, all you’ll have to do each week is copy + paste the links to the recipes that you’re interested in trying that week + you are done!
After plugging in your meals, you will just click on each link to preview the ingredients you’ll need. Another huge time-saving tip is grouping your grocery list items into a 2×2 grid that organizes the foods you need into general categories/sections of the grocery store. I have found that this works far better for me than a list that goes top to bottom or super specific sections. I forget fewer items when I’m in the store this way.
Also, if you’re like me, and shop at more than one store, you have the option of color coding or just denoting items with an asterisk to help you keep track of where you want to purchase specific items.
Once you get into the groove, it can be pretty easy to stay on top of your meals. In fact, it’s so simple that there have been times where I have been able to plan out 2-3 weeks worth of meals + grocery lists, which saved me even more time!
If you’re looking to jumpstart your meal planning, I put together a template for you to use at home! As an added bonus, it also includes the Spring 2020 Family-Favorite Recipes that women from our community shared. This exclusive includes 12 proven recipes that other moms in our group have relied on time + again, so they’re the perfect ideas to add to your list of upcoming meals with hardly any research.
If you’re interested in the template + Spring 2020 Family-Favorite Recipes, fill out the form…
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Mom life is complex,
but it doesn't have to be complicated.
LET'S SIMPLIFY THINGS.