I’m going to level with you right off the bat. Meal planning has been the bane of my existence since my discovery of Pinterest. Those lovely folks that have their meal plan calendars plastered all over, make it look effortless.
It’s not. It’s really, really not.
Although, I know it’s worth doing because it saves time, reduces stress, and saves MONEY.
Finally, after trying and failing to keep a steady plan, I have come up with something that will actually work for me…and its EASY. And it may just work for you too.[Tweet “Meal planning saves time, reduces stress, and saves money. Now there’s a super easy way to do it!”]
First off, planning meals for seven days is extremely daunting. Good news! You don’t have to plan for seven whole days. Plan for four. How did I get to that wonderful, low number you ask?
Out of seven days for a week, two are for eating up leftovers, and one is a freebie (eating out, eating at a friends, or eating up the random food you have in the back of the freezer).
Now to plan for those four days.
Everyone has their favorite, go-to meals. Make a list of all of your easy meals. Then add some recipes you would like to try sometime. When you have to put together your meal plan for the week (and write up your shopping list), just look at your “favorite meals” list and plan accordingly. It’s as easy as picking and choosing four things off of a list. And since these are all favorite meals that you’re familiar with, you probably know what you need from the store to make them (and you know what side dishes go well with them).
I have included my list below and I have them categorized by meats. That way, I just choose one recipe from four categories. This is what my list looks like:
Ground Beef-(all ground beef recipes can be substituted with ground turkey, bison, etc.)
Meat Mix (tacos, nachos, spaghetti, etc…)
Pulled Pork sandwiches
Black Bean Patties
Black Bean tacos
Leftover Dishes (if you want to “repurpose” a meal.)
Homemade Hot Pockets
Now all you have to do is sit down for a few minutes and write up your list. To make it even easier, just ask every member of your family to tell you their favorite meals-I bet each of them have at least two or three favorites!!
So, what’s going to be on your list?