Secrets to Successful Meal Planning

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Meal planning is the key to stress-free meals.  It may seem like a complicated process, but it’s really quite easy.  I’m going to give you my secrets to successful meal planning that are sure to make dinner time easier.

Secrets for successful meal planning - learn how to meal plan with these tips and tricks

This was a sponsored post in collaboration with the Association of Food Bloggers and Dinner Thyme, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Does the thought of dinner time stress you out?  You’re not alone.  So many busy families struggle with getting dinner on the table every night. That’s why meal planning is so important.

Meal planning is the process of planning out all of your meals for the week at one time.  Having a meal plan allows you to easily shop for ingredients and prep your meals ahead of time – so you’re not running around (when everyone’s hungry) trying to get it all done.

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I’m a huge fan of meal planning.  I do it every single week.  My meal plan is what keeps our family on track for meal times.  I know what I’m making dinner every single night and I know I have all of the ingredients on hand when it’s time to cook.

To start meal planning you simply need a notebook or calendar, a list of your favorite recipes and a little bit time to put it all together.  Once you get the hang of it, the process gets faster and easier.

Creating a meal plan is relatively easy when you consider these secrets:

Secrets for Successful Meal Planning

  • SECRET #1: Consider Your Calendar.  I usually prepare my family’s meal plan on Sunday.  I take into consideration my husband’s work schedule, my son’s activities and any other appointments or commitments that we have.   If we have a particularly busy night, I incorporate make ahead meals or easy crock pot recipes.
  • SECRET #2:  Don’t Forget About Leftovers.  We always have left overs.  So, I make sure to include them in my meal plan.  Sometimes I use them for lunch and other times I have a buffet night where we eat up everything that wasn’t finished.
  • SECRET #3: Include Side Dishes. Don’t forget to plan out side dishes and salads on your meal plan.  You don’t want to come home to delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast and not have anything to serve with it.

Secrets for successful meal planning - learn how to meal plan with these tips and tricks

  • SECRET #4: Make Your Grocery List.  I always make my grocery list as I’m putting together my meal plan.  That way, I know just what I need to put my plan into action.
  • SECRET #5:  Have a Stash of Family Favorites.  Keep a list of your family’s favorite recipes near your meal plan.  I always have a list of our favorite go-to recipes on hand for times when I don’t feel like trying a new recipe.
  • SECRET #6:  Don’t be Afraid to get Help.  If you don’t have time to shop and prep your meals, check out the prepared meals section at your grocery store.

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