Meal planning is the number 1 thing you can do in your home to stay on top of the whole ‘Mommy thing’. It takes 10 minutes to plan a weeks worth of meals, but those 10 minutes will be the most productive thing you do all week.
FREE Weekly Dinner Planner Printable
How to Plan Family Dinners for the Week in 10 Minutes or less
There are a couple of things that are important to me when it comes to feeding my family:
- cooking fast, healthy food and
- sticking within my grocery budget.
Dinner planning doesn’t have to be complicated. This is an easy dinner planning strategy that works well every week for our family of 6.
1. PRINT OUT THE ONE PAGE DINNER PLANNER. Dinner can be the biggest headache if you aren’t organised. Print out this simple meal planning sheet with the days of the week on it. (You can get the Weekly Menu Planner here if you want to plan all breakfasts, lunch and snacks too).
2. CHECK THE FAMILY SCHEDULE. Look at your family’s schedule for the week. What days involve late nights and limited (or no) cooking time? Extra mouths to feed? What’s going on this week? Do you have to work late, do you have plans for dinner with friends, or a kids party? Which days are busy school days needing fast breakfasts and easy lunches?
3. CHECK YOUR STOCK. Take a look through your pantry, fridge and freezer for any ingredients you want to use up that week. Keep track of what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer using Inventories. I include all three of these printables in the CEWK Recipe and Meal Planning Binder).
4. CHECK STORE SPECIALS. Take a minute to browse through your local grocery mailer for specials that you can work into your meal plan. This will help reduce the grocery bill for the week. If you keep record of prices then compare this weeks grocery prices to the past weeks. Stock up on anything that’s a real bargain.
5. FILL OUT THE PLANNER. Decide on the meals you want to cook and write them on your meal planner and stick it where you and everyone else in the family can see it (this avoids the countless “What’s for Dinner, Mom?” questions).
6. WRITE OUT YOUR SHOPPING LIST. Once you’ve decided on your meals, checked your stock and grocery specials, you’re ready to write out your grocery shopping list.
12Fast and Easy Dinner Options to make meal Planning a Breeze.
We all get stuck wondering ‘What shall I make for Dinner tonight’ every now and again. To be a little honest, I find myself pondering this question most days.
Meal planning has helped me get on top of my dinner time game. I’ve also put together a Free Printable with 12 Fast and Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas that makes fast and easy dinner time meal planning a whole lot easier!
–>> Download your FREE PRINTABLE: 12 Fast and Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas here.
5 Meal Planning Hacks for Organised Moms.
1. Get your groceries delivered.
Find out if your local grocery store delivers to your door. This is a brilliant service that is well worth the small delivery fee. It save at least an hour of your time as well as vehicle expenses.
2. Reuse your Meal Plans.
Don’t throw away meal plans that work well for your family. Keep them and reuse it. In a couple of months’ you will have a stockpile of tried and tested meal plans that are ready to go and perfectly suited for your family – complete with its shopping list.
3. Make a Master Recipe List
Make a master list of 10 – 15 meals that your family enjoys. It is a really good resource when you are looking to full up that meal plan.
4. Keep a folder of recipes you want to try.
If you find a good recipe, print it, write it out and file it so that its easy to access when you are looking for some ideas on what to cook. We have a notebook in our kitchen where I write down recipes that work. We try a lot more, but only some make it to the notebook (and then to this blog).
5. Introduce a Theme night.
To really simplify things, you can introduce some family traditions or theme nights. So … Sunday Roasts, Meatless Monday, Tuesday Taco’s, Wednesday can be casserole night. Well, you get the idea. Get the family involved in this one too. It’s a great way to teach the kids to cook as they get to practice meals with similar elements every week.
To Sum it all up:
- Write out your family schedule for the week to see if there are any late days or evenings when you need to have a fast dinner option available. Most evenings fall into this category in our home J (Click here to print out a weekly planner)
- Print out a Menu Planner (Click here for your free printable menu plan).
- Choose 5 easy dinners with simple ingredients to fill in the dinners. For some inspiration, take a look at the Clean Eating Dinners we like to cook or download your FREE PRINTABLE: 12 Fast and Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas here.
- Fill in your menu plan
- Create a shopping list of ingredients you will need for your menu plan.
- Post your menu plan on your fridge where you can see it every day.
- Refer to it daily to keep you on track.
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For more delicious and nutritious recipes from Clean Eating with Kids, check out all our family friendly Clean Eating Recipe here.