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The best tips for creating and sticking to a meal plan on a budget without the stress!
I was one of those people that hated meal planning. For the longest time, no matter how hard I tried I could never get myself to stick to a meal plan.
Sure, I enjoyed the savings and it was convenient having meals available when I needed them but I always felt so much pressure to get it right.
How the heck am I supposed to know exactly what I’m going to feel like eating next Wednesday? Before you know it it’s next Wednesday and you find yourself sitting there staring at your meal plan wishing you could eat pizza instead.
Minutes later the pizza guy is knocking on your door, you completely forget about the meal you didn’t make and then 3 days later you find the tomatoes moldy in the back of the fridge. Sound familiar?
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Avoid Recipes That Are Complicated/Time Consuming
Nothing says “Order Pizza” like a recipe that is complicated or time-consuming. Recipes that have tons of ingredients, long cook times, or intensive amounts of prep should wait until the weekends or days when you have the time. After a long busy day, you will be tempted to skip it.
Plan Meals That You Will Actually Want To Eat
This probably seems like common sense but I used to do this all the time. I would pick meals sometimes that were extremely cheap or extremely healthy but I wasn’t crazy about it. It’s hard to find the motivation to make a meal when you are just not feeling it.
Some people crave variety. They get bored of eating the same meals week after week. If boredom makes you stray away from your meal plan try finding a few new recipes every week to keep things spicy. Need inspiration? check out my Pinterest board full of recipes.
Create A list Of Favorites
It’s a good idea to have a running list of family favorites. When you find yourself in one of those meal planning ruts it will be nice to grab from a list of recipes you know and love to add to your meal plan.
Having a certain day of the week to make a specific type of food is fun. You could make Mexican inspired recipes every Tuesday, Meatless Monday’s, restaurant-inspired recipes on Saturday’s etc. I started making homemade pizzas every Friday years ago and my kids still love it to this day. It gives them something to look forward to at the end of the week and it feels like a break for me.
Freezer Meals/Prepping Ahead For The Week
Taking one day a month to prepare a few freezer meals is nice for the days when you really really really don’t feel like cooking. Another good option is to prep everything you plan on making for the week on a Sunday so that it’s all ready to go when you need it.
Utilize Your Crockpot/Instant Pot Whenever Possible
Remember when I was talking about themed meals? I like to use my instant pot every Monday because Monday’s are by far my busiest day of the week. It’s nice to be able to throw everything in one pot and have it done in minutes.
Leftovers, Leftovers, Leftovers
Leftovers are the bomb! It’s nice to be able to cook once and eat twice. One of my favorite things to do is to take my leftovers and make a completely different meal out of them. Taking leftover taco ingredients and then turning them into nacho’s the next day keeps things fresh while you’re still using up what you have.
Keep An Emergency Meal On Hand
Even with all these tips, it’s still a good idea to keep 1-2 extra meals aka emergency meal on hand every week. Kids randomly getting sick or unexpected activities that may come up will help you stay on track. Make sure any extra meals you choose are non-perishable items or things that can be frozen so if you don’t end up needing them they don’t go bad.
Creating a meal plan and sticking to it doesn’t need to be an annoying or overwhelming task. By implementing these 8 tips you will find yourself creating meal plans for your family quicker and enjoying your meals more. More importantly, you will find yourself wasting less and having more time for the things that truly matter.
Want To Remember This? Pin It To Your Favorite Board On Pinterest!