Do you use Pinterest for your weekly meal plans? Check out my blog post here on how to meal plan effectively using Pinterest. There is a free printable meal planning template available there for your use too.
Now, on to my 3 critical meal planning tips for families!
Tip 1: separate the recipes you have made from those you have not.
I like to do this because sometimes I just want to make familiar recipes. You know, the ones you KNOW are delicious, healthy, & easy to make. They aren’t going to have a million ingredients you don’t have in the house and have no clue where to find.
When I’m feeling more adventurous (usually once or twice a week on average) I will peruse the Recipes Not Yet Tried board and try something new. You don’t want to end up making 7 new recipes one week and have them all be a total bust. If that happens you are sure to feel like your meal planning efforts are not worth the work.
If you aren’t using Pinterest you can create your own recipe binder so you have an easy go-to resource. I’d recommend sub categorizing that as well (per tip 2 below).
Tip 2: subcategorize your recipe boards.
This is probably my favorite of the tips for meal planning as it is a huge parent time saver! If you just have one giant recipe board it will take you FOREVER to find what you want and it can get extremely overwhelming, not to mention extremely time consuming.
I subcategorize breakfast, lunch, dinner, & desserts. Dinner is where the meal planning and prepping really comes into play for our family (as we eat leftovers for lunches most days), so that is further broken down by type of meal or cooking method. You could also easily do the same for lunches!
Some examples of subcateogries we use are:
- Skillet Dinners
- Sheet Pan Dinners
- Soups & Stews
- Rice Bowls
- Entree Salads
- Crockpot Meals
- Instapot Recipes
- Healthy Casseroles
For even more meal planning tips and category inspiration check out this post here on 15 easy and awesome meal planning categories for busy moms.
Dividing the recipes among different Pinterest boards will help you find recipes quickly and help you create variety within your meal plan for the week.
For example, I will usually choose 1-2 skillet meals (fast & delicious), a sheet pan dinner (easy, peasy!), a soup/crockpot meal (for lots of leftovers!), 1-2 fish meals (trying to increase our natural omega 3 intake), a salad night and a flex day (either a different recipe or leftovers).
Tip 3: delete or move recipes that you didn’t enjoy, had too many ingredients or took too long to cook.
This is important because it’s easy to fall off the meal planning/prepping bandwagon if it seems like too much work and/or is too time consuming. Get rid of those hour long dinners or the ones with obscure ingredients you never have or can’t use up.
- There are three ways I would recommend that you can manage these recipes. You can either:
- 1: delete them
- 2: move them to a new board “Not Worth It” (this way if you go to pin it again Pinterest will alert you “already pinned to Not Worth It” and you won’t accidentally make it again…
- 3: add to a “Special Occasions” board if you enjoyed them and would make them again but don’t necessarily want them in your rotation of weeknight meals.
These longer, more obscure meals have no place in the meal planning space of a busy parent. This tip will really help you stay on track!
These are my 3 effective strategies to meal planning success using Pinterest.
Happy meal planning to you!