It’s that time of year!! Who has kids headed back or already back in school? Summer kind of flew by for us, but I can’t say I’m super sad about it because our family just tends to function a little better with routines and schedules. Not to mention the fact that I now have little time while the little princess is at school to get some work done is honestly kind of nice for both of us.
My kids have actually been back for a couple of weeks, but I’m going to have to admit to you guys that my meal planning has not been back to it’s full potential just yet. I am so off of my game and feeling a bit stressed about it, if I’m totally honest. Time to get back to it!
That’s why I felt this was a good and timely post! It’s not just for the sake of helping you guys, it’s actually kind of selfish as well. I know you all understand! I’m hoping this will help us all make some kind of pact to get back to routines, back to family dinners and back to the routines of life.
Here are my top ten tips for meal planning this fall:
- Keep it simple! Don’t try to make a month’s worth of meals all at one time unless you are experienced at this. I do A LOT of meal prepping and still find this method completely overwhelming.
- Take it one week at a time. In line with the above suggestion of keeping it simple, keep it limited to just the one week outlook so that you are not spending all your time planning and buying food for recipes that won’t even sound good to you in a couple of weeks.
- Minimize the ingredients. Narrow it down to recipes that have a maximum of about 10 ingredients so that you are not spending an excessive amount of time prepping.
- Stay flexible. Create a plan of what meals you will have and even do the prep work ahead of time, but be flexible on which day you make them depending on what comes up in your schedule.
- Plan for leftovers when possible. If you can make double recipes or plan for recipes with some leftovers, do so at least once a week. This will minimize the number of meals you have to make. There are many ways to repurposes leftovers so that they don’t have to be boring.
- Try new things! This is a great opportunity to try something you wouldn’t otherwise make. You have plenty of time to consider ingredients and do the prep work so there’s no last minute panic and resorting to making the same old things.
- Eat together. It so much more worth the effort when everyone can sit down together and enjoy the meals. I love it when I can get everyone’s feedback on which meals are their favorites and I can see the enjoyment of the food when I see their faces. Meals as a family are so important!
- Consider everyone’s input. Making sure that each person has a say in what meals will be prepped should help eliminate the dreaded “but I don’t like it!” whining that can ensue. You will have to balance this one out and consider if the meals are up to your standards in terms of nutrition (umm, no we are NOT having ice cream for dinner!), but in general getting some input is usually a good thing.
- Cook together! Give everyone in the family a job. This is easy to do when you have a plan for what needs to be made and when everyone helps, not only does it distribute the work more evenly, but everyone feels a sense of accomplishment.
- Have fun! While it’s great to have a plan and stick to it to help reduce stress, don’t get to crazy about it. Life is meant to be fun, and food is a big part of that. Make sure that you and your family enjoy the process of planning and prepping, and every now and then, take a break and eat that ice cream for dinner instead!!
Does this all still seem a little overwhelming? Or would you just like some help? We’ve done a lot of the busy work for you! Join us by signing up for our meal plan service and get delicious recipes your family will love every week!