Why I use a meal planner
Meal planning is one of the many things that have simplified my life since I became a mom. Having a plan ensures that I don’t resort to last minute searching the cupboards and making some random box meal (why do I even have that in my cupboard?)
Meals are a lot less stressful now that I have a plan. This plan guides my grocery shopping and makes it easier to make a weekly shopping trip for the things I need that week. Grocery shopping was taking up too much time because I would go almost everyday. I have been using a meal planner for almost two months and I am eating healthier and saving lots of time and money.
Orignally, I was just using a notepad that had all the days listed out to write each day’s meals. That was better than nothing but I now use the printable from Elegance and Enchantment. I love that it includes a shopping list. I recently discovered that it is easiest to color code the meal with the items for the meal. Or maybe that is just me because I love color.
First, I made a general plan of what I wanted to make on a regular basis. This makes it easier to decide what to make each week. For example:
Monday: pasta (link to board on Pinterest)
Tuesday: Mexican (a lot of our food has a Mexican theme)
Wednesday: soup (fairly easy and really helathy) (link to board on Pinterest)
Thursday: slow cooker meal (I have to make sure this is a day that I am available to start in the morning/ early afternoon) (link to board on Pinterest)
Friday: Stir Fry/ Asian (this is a good way to use up all your extra vegetables from the week) (link to board on Pinterest)
Saturday: Pinterest (one my recent pins to my food board)
Sunday: Pizza (this is something I started making in college and have done on a weekly basis since I got married)
Most of my recipes are found on Pinterest. Each week, on Sunday afternoon before I go grocery shopping I make my plan and look at the recipes to see what ingredients I need to buy. Since Sunday’s meal is usually the same that is the easiest day to go shopping. Every morning I have overnight oats which makes my mornings so much easier and there are hundreds of different combinations of things to put in them.
Meal plan for this week
Sunday: pizza with turkey sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions. The only thing I needed to buy was the meat because I already had the veggies, sauce and dough. I buy premade balls of dough which I have found at Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Winco.
Monday: Creamy Chicken and Asparagus pasta from Cookingclassy.com
This was creamy but a warning: use fresh asparagus and not canned like I did.
Tuesday: Restaurant style nachos from The Pinning Mama
I used fajita flavored ground beef instead of chicken because we use chicken more than beef and had both in the freezer. We loved this dinner and it was perfect for my 16 mont old who loves black beans, cheese and ground beef.
Wednesday: Anything you have coconut curry soup from Pinch of Yum (one of my favorite food blogs)
Coconut milk is a staple at our house and we love curry so this should be good and I love the name.
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Sounds yummy. I just bought quinoa in bulk at Costco.
Friday: Indian food! Curry, to be more precise.
Last time I was at Winco, I randomly bought a few “Indian Essentials” seasoning mixes in case I needed a last minute meal. This was perfect. The only ingredient I needed was tomatoes.
Saturday: Lemon and Rosemary Chicken
This sounds yummy and kinda fancy.
How do you save time planning meals?