The Benefits of a Good Meal Plan
Meal planning is so beneficial for both your diet and your pocket book. It means healthier meals at home, more nutrition for your body and less wasted food. I have been meal planning since I graduated from grad school and it brings me so much joy to make delicious, homemade food for my family. Read on for my simple strategy on how to meal plan for a busy family using Pinterest!
Make Your Meal Planning Experience Easy
Using Pinterest and my Bullet Journal (see my post here about how to get started on your own Bullet Journal for more information!) I have successfully planned meals for my family for the last 3 years. It is so easy you can do it too! If you don’t use a bullet journal you can also combine this Pinterest method with any meal planning template.
Step One: Create Your Meal Planning Pinterest Boards & Pin Recipes
How many of you pin recipes all the time on Pinterest? There are so many great, free recipes available! I love to eat a variety of cuisines so I am constantly trying out new meals. If you are just starting out using Pinterest for recipes, you will want to create boards for dinner, lunch and breakfast recipes. As you continue, you may want to subcategorize dinner into crockpot, skillet, sheet pan, barbeque, salads, sides, etc.
Step Two: Meals This Week
Now, the secret to my Pinterest meal planning success, is a board called “Meals this Week”. Every Sunday I sit down with my weekly spread in my Bullet Journal (or template on the fridge) and plan our dinners. If the recipes are from Pinterest I re-pin them from their original board onto the “meals this week” board. If the recipe is from a cookbook I note that next to it in my Bujo so I know where to look for it. This way, Monday night I can open the recipe from the meals this week board and start cooking. Once I make the recipe I will remove the pin from the meals this week board. If you remove the recipes as you make them, your board should be clear by the following Sunday and ready for you to repeat for the following week!
This method is also very flexible because if you decided to go out for dinner last minute instead of cooking you will already have one or more recipes (and the ingredients!) ready to go for the following week. Living in the city of Chicago where there are so many incredible restaurants we love to eat out and order in occasionally too! It’s just all about finding that balance my friends.
Follow me on Pinterest here to see what our family is eating this week!
Step Three: the Grocery List
After I decide on our meals for the week I will copy the ingredients that aren’t already in our pantry into a grocery list and head to the store. This way you can buy just enough for what you need for the week and you won’t waste ingredients. I have many friends who use grocery delivery services for this step too, but I guess I’m a little more traditional and like to pick out my groceries myself. It’s also more budget friendly this way, but definitely more time consuming. You do you, find what works for YOU and your family.
Step Four: Get Prepping
When I get home from the store I like to pre-portion our snack items. For example, I will take a bag of pretzels or baby carrots and put them in individual containers so they are easy to toss in lunch bags or are pre-portioned for snacks at home too. As an added bonus this cuts down on over eating during snack time. This will help teach your children about appropriate serving sizes too!
Step Five: Enjoy the Benefits of Your Meal Plan
Sounds easy enough, right? It really is. It takes maybe half an hour to plan it out and a trip to the grocery store (or a delivery if you partake in those!), but it sets our family up for a nutritious and delicious week of eating.
A Few Additional Tips and Tricks:
If you try a new recipe and you don’t enjoy it, do yourself a favor and delete it from your pins. This way you won’t accidentally end up making it again down the road.
Try making joint recipe boards with your friends to share tried and true recipes! This way you can cook recipes recommended by those close to you.
If you find yourself stuck, give yourself basic categories for each day of the week. For example, meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, pasta Wednesday, stir fry or bbq Thursday, fish Friday, leftovers or eat out Saturday, crockpot Sunday. Check out my post on my favourite meal planning categories for families!
To keep costs down, eat leftovers for lunch and cook with seasonal ingredients.
Time to Get Started!
That’s a wrap, happy meal planning friends! I hope you found this guide on how to meal plan for a busy family helpful. Comment below, I would love to hear your favourite meal planning hacks!