Are you a list-maker, like me? I love printables, especially when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping. It’s just another way for me to stay organized and experience a little less chaos when I go to the store! That’s why I was so excited to create these simple, spring-themed printables that could help others keep track of everything and stay stress-free, too. But it doesn’t end there. Here are some of my favorite tips for successful meal planning!
• Keep a list of favorite meals.
Meal planning can be stressful when you feel like you have to switch it up all the time. Trust me, I’ve spent way too much time scouring the internet for new recipes. While it is fun to try something different now and then, there’s a simpler way when it comes to planning meals for a busy week. As you go through your weeks of planning and prepping, it’s handy to keep an on-going list of family favorites. You could also just sit down and think about what your family likes to eat most and make a list of your top 20 meals. This will give you a great selection to choose from the next time you’re trying to figure out what everyone will eat.
• Keep it simple.
This one might not be for everyone, but if you’d like to make meal planning easier, it’s worth a try! It’s probably one of the most important tips I could give. I try to make something different for dinner each night. However, when it comes to breakfast and lunch, I pick 2 things for the week. This gives everyone an option, but doesn’t leave me feeling pressured to buy lots of extra food that we may or may not eat. For example, lunches usually consist of chicken nuggets or peanut butter sandwiches for the kids, and leftovers or some sort of sandwich (lunch meat, tuna salad, etc.) for my husband and I. Same goes for breakfast. I try to keep cereal or oatmeal stocked in the pantry, but occasionally offer the choice of pancakes or breakfast sandwiches.
Another way to keep things simple is to plan simple meals. I love sheet pan meals because they are usually healthy, but mostly because they’re so darn easy and require very view ingredients. These are particularly great to plan for in the middle of the week or Sunday nights (the times I’m the most tired and could use a break).
• Raid your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Unless any of these are empty, you’d be surprised what you can create out of the food items that are just sitting around. You may need to get a little creative, but this is a great way to fill up your meal plan and use up older food! This planning tip can double as a way to save money on your groceries, as well.
• Coordinate your meals.
This one takes a little more strategic planning, but is also budget-friendly and can make overall planning easier in the long-run. One Monday we had enchiladas, which we always love to top with lettuce and tomatoes. What else uses lettuce and tomatoes? BLTs! So that Tuesday night’s plan was for BLTs. This was a way to save money because I didn’t have to buy a bunch of ingredients. Less ingredients also meant less planning and that much less time at the grocery store. Win, win, win!
I recently started making breakfast casserole for supper on Sunday nights and this has helped plan out breakfasts for the week. Our family of four can’t eat an entire breakfast casserole in one sitting. My kids are pretty picky when it comes to eggs and meat, so sometimes it’s only my husband and me that eat it. This means plenty of leftovers that we save for breakfasts. It’s easy to throw in the microwave while getting ready for work and eating quickly before heading out for the day.
Now that you’ve got a list of tips to try on your next meal plan, let’s get to the printables! Scroll down and click the links to get your very own copies of my Simple, Spring-Themed meal plan and grocery list!
Click this link for the Weekly Meal Plan:
Click this link for the Grocery List: