If I don’t prepare my thoughts in advance, making a healthy meal every night can turn into some stale potato chips and spaghetti-os quickly. This is where meal planning comes in!!!
Meal planning can sound difficult and overwhelming, but it’s not! Let me share with you some of my tips and tricks to meal planning!
Related Posts: How to Make Meal Planning Quick and Easy
Here’s a glance into what I do:
Before deciding on meals, plug your appointments and commitments into your planner.
I plug in my appointments/meetings etc into my Happy Planner. I sometimes even plug in the expected temps – because who wants chili if it’s 80 degrees outside.
Find nights to suit your cooking needs.
Then, I find a day where we are busy to plug in a crock pot or instant pot meal. The longer meals get plugged into the least busy nights. I may plan a night for eating out or take out night if we aren’t home.
Here’s a few quick examples:
See Monday – we had an academic team match at 3:45 and Crossfit at 5:30 – that was going to put us home at 6:45 or so. On a school night, when my son goes to bed at 8:30 – and that’s after a shower and bedtime routine….. SO, I inserted an instant pot meal here. Steak tips in the IP (instant pot).
See Tuesday here — Scouts (which my husband takes my son to is at 6:30) and I am going to Crossfit at 6:30. This means we will eat at different times!! So, I did a crock pot meal – a roast. They can roll in and eat right after school/work before Scouts. My husband can be sure it is switched to the keep warm setting, and I will eat after Crossfit.
Meal Logs to Help with Ideas for Meal Planning
I also keep a meal log in the back of my planner to pull from because sometimes I get mental blocks!!!! A meal log is basically a written list of different ideas to pull from – I have a crock pot list, instant pot list, Mexican food list, casserole list, and so on…. Then, when I feel brain dead or blank for food ideas, I just flip to the back of the planner to my meal log. I also rewrite them into each planner each year, and carry them over and add to them or eliminate as needed.
I have a free printable for these meal logs in this post: One Brilliant Meal Planning Hack.
How do you meal plan? Any good tips I can incorporate into my life??