Meal planning is tough, but if done right it can make mealtime less stressful. Here are a few tips to make meal planning easier for you!
Plan your meals around in-season items.
If you have to buy ingredients then in-season items will cost less and if you can use food from your own homestead that is even better. Using your garden produce and chicken eggs in your meal plan means you will use your food before it spoils. There is less waste that way. Less waste means you are not wasting your money.
Don’t be afraid to NOT SHOP.
If you are a weekly shopper then plan on not going to the store every 3 weeks. This forces you to look at what is in your pantry, fridge, and garden and use it! Again, less waste means you are not wasting your money.
We have a leftover night once a week to be sure we use our leftovers. Another idea is to use leftovers to make something new. You can use your Taco meat form taco night and make a taco salad, or left over beans mashed up for a Mexican lasagna. This way you don’t let them sit until they are unidentified fridge objects ( UFO’s). If you work outside the home you can use leftovers for lunches (which can make packing lunches a lot easier).
Plan meals without meat
Try to plan meals without meat at least 2 times a week. This will stretch your meat budget and also be really healthy for your family. Meals without meat tend to be simple to put together, which can also save you some time.
Don't feel like you have to plan day by day.
Each time I try to plan meals by the day I fail… miserably. Unfortunately, there are some meals that sound good when I am planning, but not when I am ready to make them. If you are like me then this is what I have done to “fix” that. Plan your meals and have the ingredients, etc ready to go, but do not assign a day. At the start of the day you can pick the one that sounds good to you. I like to have 5-7 meals to choose from.