How We: Meal Plan

in , by Gavin and Kylie Plus 4, 5:00 AM
Meal planning is the single most helpful thing that I do every weekend to have my week run smoothly.  There is nothing more difficult or stressful than trying to pull something together after work with three hangry kids.  Let along going to the grocery store with the same three hangry kids.  I typically try to get a menu and grocery list put together on Saturdays and then either order everything online or go to the grocery store on Sundays.  I love, love, love grocery pick-up but sometimes going to the grocery story is about the only time that I get out of the house on my own throughout the week.   My kids are pretty good about riding in the cart if I have to take them, but I always feel like I am in a race against an epic temper tantrum.  Don't even get me started about stores going to mainly self check out lanes.  #grrr 

This is what I use to plan out our week.  I write down what we plan on making each day on the left and then write down what I all need on the right.  By having this at the grocery store or even ordering from my couch, it helps me not have to double back through the store because I forgot something.

If you'd like to download it for yourself and just print one off each week, here you go!  Just click below!

Please let me know if you run into any issues downloading it!

I think it is important to point out that I meal PLAN and do not meal PREP.  Meal planning means that I plan out what we are going to eat and what groceries I need for those things.  Meal prepping would mean spending time on Sunday cooking and preparing everything.  I don't meal prep for several reasons... A) I don't have time to prep as cooking several different meals takes a good portion of a day.  B) There are lots of times that I'm just not feeling what I have on the menu and therefore just switch some days around.  This way we aren't wasting that meal rather just pushing it back a day or two.  I also have to go to the grocery store every week instead of planning out several weeks at a time because we go through produce so quickly and it goes bad within a week if you don't get to it.  Our kids also go through a lot of milk.  ...I also struggle to know what I need to do tomorrow let alone several weeks from now.
This made me laugh!  Because it's just all too true.  Ha!

Every week on my menu, I plan out what we will eat for supper each night.  I try to take into account what we have going on so I can plan in when I need to use the crock pot, what nights would be helpful to have the meat cooked, and nights that we won't be home.  My biggest goal is to cook healthy meals that all three of our kids will eat. 
As I figure out what is on our menu for the week, I check our pantry and fridge to see what we have and what I need to add to the list.  This helps soooo much so that I'm not buying things we already have and also eliminates having to throw produce away.

One of the biggest things that helps our nights go smoothly is to have the meat cooked in the crockpot by the time we get home.  If we are using chicken in a recipe, I almost always will put it in the crock pot before I leave in the morning so all I need to do is shred it when I get home.

We eat about the same thing for breakfast every morning and I always take leftovers for lunch!  I generally can just add those things and a handful of snacky things to our list and we are set for the week!

I'd love to know if you have any other helpful tricks or meal planning hacks!!  Have a great day and make sure to come back tomorrow!   
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