Weekly meal planning to organize your family life

July 22, 2021
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Printable + Editable Weekly Meal Planner Template {Downloadable Meal Planner}Printable + Editable Weekly Meal Planner Template {Downloadable Meal Planner}Printable + Editable Weekly Meal Planner Template {Downloadable Meal Planner}

Weekly meal planning is one of the ways to organize your family life. 


Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, dad, or a working parent, we've got to admit that meal preparation takes up a significant amount of time, but is less of a headache when this part of your home life is organized and planned.

Planning weekly meals helps you buy on sale, save money, make the most of your weekly food budget and cooking time. As a result, the benefits are many. 

You can give your family a variety in their diet: fish one night, chicken another, and pasta the next. 

You can slow-cook Sunday dinner the night before to relax the following day and not spend most of it in the kitchen. All things are possible when you know in advance "what's for dinner".

 


Planning weekly meals helps you buy on sale, save money, make the most of your weekly food budget and cooking time. As a result, the benefits are many. You can give your family a variety in their diet: fish one night, chicken another, and pasta the next. You can slow-cook Sunday dinner the night before to relax the following day and not spend most of it in the kitchen. All things are possible when you know in advance "what's for dinner".

Benefits of weekly meal planning


  • Saves time and stress – It’s easier to prepare nutritious meals when you plan. It becomes less tedious too, especially if you are not crazy about the kitchen, but do believe in home-cooked meals for your family. 
  • Helps you stay within your weekly food budget - When you know to the "t" what you will be eating, and when, you do not buy unnecessary stuff during your grocery shopping trips. You are also less likely to waste as you will use up all the ingredients in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry before grocery shopping.
  • Encourages healthier eating habits – This is a perfect time to take advantage of the healthy eating plans that you find on the internet. Keto, Mediterranean, low calorie? Either way,  when you organize your meals ahead, it is easier to implement a healthy lifestyle.
  • Meals can be planned around what’s on sale or in-season which saves money on food!

How to go about doing weekly meal planning?


Weekly Meal Planner Printable Template Accompanied By A Grocery List TemplateWeekly Meal Planner Printable Template Accompanied By A Grocery List TemplateWeekly Meal Planner Printable Template Accompanied By A Grocery List Template

 


Planning your weekly meals is simple with the help of a weekly meal planner template. Most of these are available online. The templates are great because you populate them yourself, instead of else's meals. Before grabbing and filling out a meal plan template, you need to do some legwork and consider these: 

1. Your family's favorite foods and dishes -  if you plan weekly meals that your family doesn’t like, it defeats the purpose of planning weekly dinners! If you have kids, rest assured that the dinner will end up in the trash bin. Preempt the waste and create a plan around food that will be eaten.

2. Prep time - consider your schedule and work the meal prep around it. It defeats the purpose of meal planning if you cook tedious meals on your most busy days. Ideally, your midweek meals will need fewer ingredients, and less time to prepare.

3. Price range - Consider your weekly food budget before writing down your weekly meal plan. One of the main benefits of organized life is to save money.

4. Dietary restrictions and allergies - Grabbing ready-made meal plans may just not work for your family due to dietary restrictions and allergies. Factor these in as you are planning your meals ahead of time.

5. Meal variety - Yes, weekly meal planning may seem monotonous at first glance. But try to include a weekly 'treat' meal that is different from your regular meals. This serves two purposes: it allows you to vary your weekly menu just enough so it doesn't get boring and it helps change up your family's palate from the usual homemade meals.

Step by step weekly meal planning guide


Step 1:

Consult your family's weekly planner to get an idea of everyone's activities for the week

Step 2:

Plan the meals according to these activities. If the evenings involve a lot of extracurricular activities, it is pointless to plan for a sit-down meal (instead of making it a  burger, for example).

Step 3:

Look at weekly ads for weekly deals on ingredients and prepare to take advantage of them (frozen dinners are also great to have in your arsenal).

Step 4:

Plan the weekly grocery shopping. Compile a list of items needed for each meal and consolidate it into your grocery shopping list. 

Grocery shopping list


Once you've populated your meal planner, you'll need to consider shopping for the items that you do not have at hand. Most meal planner templates are accompanied by a grocery shopping list template.  The template will come in handy while you shop for weekly groceries. Grab a pen and tick off every item that you purchase while at the store.

Time-Saving Tips - If weekly meal planning sounds like a big job, there are some things to help make it easier on yourself as well as the whole family. Set aside an hour or two when everyone is free and do your weekly meal planning together! This way everyone has input on what they eat for the week. When everyone is clear on the week's meals, it is also easier for everyone to lend a hand and save you time.

Meal Planning Apps

In this digital age, you can also find meal planning apps that accommodate particular diets. Find one that caters to your needs and it may speed up the weekly meal planning process for you.

The most popular meal planning apps are:

1. SuperCook - this app is a favorite of mine because it gives you recipes according to the ingredients you have at home.

2. Happy Plate

3. Allrecipes Meal Planner

4. BigOven Recipe Organizer Plus  

You can also find weekly meal planning apps within most recipe websites (e.g., Epicurious and Allrecipes) and on food blog sites as well. If you have a smartphone, then you likely are already familiar with some of the apps. Keep in mind though that the app should serve your needs (not the other way round).

The weekly meal planning apps that you choose should be easy to use.

And, even if you don't have a weekly meal planning app, that doesn't mean that planning your weekly meals has to be difficult or time-consuming.

Here are 3 tips on how to speed up the weekly meal planning process:

  1. Don't start from scratch, check your fridge and cabinets for ingredients that you already have and plan around them.
  2. There is no need to plan weekly dinners, lunches, and breakfasts separately. You can actually save time by planning all three meals simultaneously and forego making 3 different lists. It will save you a lot of time since it eliminates the need to duplicate ingredients on your weekly meal list.
  3. Strike off meal ideas that require utensils and tools that you do not have.

Once you have your weekly meal plan on hand, you can use your less busy times to cook and freeze some items ahead of time, a nifty idea that is unlikely to occur if you do not have a birds' eye-view of the week's meals.

Weekly meal planning is fun and easy and has long-term benefits. Give it a try for a month or two and see if you won't save time and resources.







Zee

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