Meal planning can feel like a chore, I know. It’s one of those necessary evils no one wants to do but everyone knows is beneficial, so many of us do it, reluctantly. And sometimes our plans work and sometimes they totally fail… sometimes they’re delicious and sometimes they’re downright boring. But as with any habit that is going to improve our life, consistency is key- and meal planning should make your life EASIER, not harder. So today I want to share three strategies for simplifying meal planning.
Hey there friends, welcome back to the podcast! Kristin here, and today I’m talking three strategies to SIMPLIFY meal planning.
Before we jump in… If you haven’t joined my free meal planning challenge yet, what are you waiting for?! Join us for four weeks of meal planning bliss- meal planning you’ll actually stick with, beyond the end of the month. Head to healthymamakris.com/plan to join for free. We start on September 7.
Meal planning can feel like a chore, I know. It’s one of those necessary evils no one wants to do but everyone knows is beneficial, so many of us do it, reluctantly. And sometimes our plans work and sometimes they totally fail… sometimes they’re delicious and sometimes they’re downright boring.
But as with any habit that is going to improve our life, consistency is key- and meal planning should make your life EASIER, not harder. So today I want to share three strategies for simplifying meal planning.
p.s. I have a whole episode on meal planning for back to school, so if you want more of the basics, head to the link in my show notes. Let’s simplify!
Strategy #1: Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Start with what you know!
The two biggest mistakes I see women make when it comes to meal planning are:
Planning meals that are too complicated or don’t fit in with the time they have
Creating a new plan with 5-7 new recipes EVERY week.
MAMA. It does not have to be that complicated!
This starts with… Looking at your calendar. Base your plan on:
How often you shop
YOUR schedule. Remember- this needs to work for YOU. It’s why following a meal plan usually doesn’t actually last. I want this to work for YOUR family and YOUR life.
Which days are the biggest struggle? These are the days you need the EASIEST meals. Plan accordingly.
This also means utilizing a family favorites list to start with your tried and true meals you know your family loves and you can make easily. Balance happens over time. You don’t need to eat the same meals weekly, but you can start with 2-3 meals that are staples and add new ones in from there. Make sure the cooking time is reasonable for the time you have, or do some light prep to ease the burden.
Strategy #2: Utilize my 4-3-2-1 method.
Ok you guys, I could literally write a WHOLE episode just on this method, and for that reason, I have a whole mini course coming out on it, launching with the re-launch of my meal prep course next month. So if you’re into this, stay tuned- but I’m going to give you an overview of the process, now. The 4-3-2-1 method is something I originally created geared towards meal PREP, based on a couple different methods I’ve heard from fellow food bloggers but I wanted to find a way to simplify the process for both prep AND planning, and this is it!
Here’s how it goes:
4 • Produce (dinner only- break/lunch and snacks up to you)
3 • Proteins
2 • Starches or Grains
1 • Flavor boost (sauce, dip, herb)
Basis of a healthy meal (minus some healthy fat in there). EASY.
You can do two things, here: you can either choose items in season and mix and match and create meals throughout the week, OR you can choose a recipe or two and choose 2-3 more that have similar ingredients to ease the planning and the prep, that week. SO easy.
Strategy #3: Try themed meals.
There are SO many options for themed meals! When you write your plans down, you can rotate the plans that work well to save yourself a TON of time. A few ideas for themed meals include…
- Slow Cooker
- Pasta Night
- Stir Fry
- Burger Bar
- Roast (Chicken, Beef or Pork)
- Taco Night
- Burrito Bowls
- Baked Potato Night
- Salad Bar
- Pizza Night
- Chili Bar
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Snack Plates
- Meatless Monday
- Sheet Pan
- Soup + Sandwich
- Leftovers Night
- DIY Nachos
- Mini pizzas
You could do themes based on cuisine, and do themes for breakfast, as well. This is just a VERY small snippet into all that I share around making meal planning work for your family. Let me know which method is working for you!
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