Learning how to meal plan can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. At the most basic level, meal planning is about looking at the week ahead, figuring out how much time you will have to cook each day, and making a plan to help make your week run a little smoother.
Step one – plan the week
The very first thing I do when meal planning is print out my weekly planner, open my calendar on my phone, and add all those key details. For me, this means writing when I drive carpool, what afternoon/evening activities are happening, and if there are any special days (birthdays, anniversaries, school events) that aren’t part of our usual week, or need extra planning.
Once you have a general idea of what’s going on that week, start thinking about what days are going to be busier than others and plan leftovers or super easy meals for those nights. Yes, you can start by just planning dinners. You can choose to plan every meal, but if you are just getting started with meal planning, just planning dinners is a great way to get in the habit.
Step two – plan the meals
Here we are, back at Meal Plan Monday again! This week will probably be our last freezer-based meal plan for a bit – we’ve gotten things down to a manageable state again. We’ve got a meal plan full of easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meals.
By shopping the sales and our inventory, five meals for our family of four, plus one night of leftovers, comes in at about $60 this week. Again, fancy meals they are not. They are affordable, filling meals that are quick and easy for our busy family.
Let’s get into it.
It’s Meal Plan Monday and we are continuing to shop our freezer and pantry this week. After reviewing our freezer inventory and polling the family, I’ve put together a meal plan full of easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meals.
By shopping the sales and our inventory, five meals for our family of four, plus one night of leftovers, comes in at about $55. Let’s be clear – these are not fancy meals. These are affordable, filling meals that our family loves and are quick and easy to put together on a weeknight.
Let’s jump into it.
I don’t know about you, but getting my kids to open up can sometimes be difficult. Simple prompts like, “Tell me about your day” or “What did you do at school today?” are often met with one-word responses. “Nothing,” “It was boring,” and “I don’t remember” are all frequent replies.
Then one day I was finishing up a Simple Show podcast just as Wild Man got in the car after school. At the end of each podcast, Tsh asks her guest a series of 10 short questions. Wild Man LOVED this idea and asked if we could “do questions” too.
So we each answered the questions Tsh asked her guest and all of a sudden I was getting all sorts of interesting information from my child. Wild Man even asked, “Can we continue on with our questions?” once we got home. Never one to skip an opportunity to connect, I said “Of course!” and quickly searched the internet for more questions. We happily spent the rest of the evening asking each other questions.
Since then, at least once a week Wild Man or Bunny will ask if we can “continue on with our questions”. They especially like to do this over dinner or in the car.