If your household runs similar to ours, you’re probably the main person responsible for meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking family meals. Even if you and your partner share duties it’s likely that you’re the one actually making the list and making key decisions. This responsibility is an important one. We’re the gatekeepers for our family’s health, but it isn’t always easy.
With all of the work schedules, appointments, and hustle and bustle of being a modern mom it can be hard to stay on top preparing healthy meals all of the time. The pressure is there to eat all organic, home cooked meals all of the time, but that’s just not practical. With this meal planning and food prep system you are able to consider your budget and schedule, plan appropriately, and make things go a little easier with a bit of prep at the beginning of the week. You’ll also want to make sure you download your free printable Meal Planner and Grocery List Template so you can stay organized during the week and at the grocery store.
Meal planning is essential for staying on track with healthy eating for you and your family. Whenever I start to get lazy with planning, I start to get lazy with our dinners and we’re more likely to go for simple meals or takeout more often.
Meal planning doesn’t need to get overcomplicated and don’t feel like you have to stick to it 100%, but there are a few important things to consider while making your lists to ensure you stay on budget and minimize food waste.
- Have a sheet for meal planning and for grocery shopping (download your free printable meal planner and grocery list template).
- Brain dump all of your families favourite meals (download 93 family friendly meal ideas with blank templates for you to fill out).
- While looking at flyers (I use the flipp app) write down ingredients that are on sale that you like using.
- Incorporate your sale ingredients, what needs to be used up in your fridge, and your weekly schedule and make a basic meal plan while at the same time completing your grocery list.
- Plan for quick and easy family meals on evenings that you’re busier, and make “nicer” meals on more laid-back evenings when you have time to cook.
- If you have the same kind of breakfast most days there’s no need to write it all out, just make sure everything you need is added to your grocery list.
- Make sure you check your fridge and freezer when meal planning so you can use up your food before it goes bad.
- Don’t forget about snacks! I try to make one or two healthy snacks like our family favourite peanut butter snack balls and healthy muffins (strawberry chocolate and banana chocolate chip are our faves), and keep a few other snacky things on hand like fruit, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, etc. (check out my favourite healthy Costco snacks for inspiration)
Prep Your Food
I recommend doing this as soon as you get home from grocery shopping, but you can also find a day of the week that works best for you. I know if I grocery shop and let it slide it might not get done, so every two weeks I meal plan, grocery shop, and food prep. Generally I meal plan the evening beforehand, and go grocery shopping the following day followed by meal prep. It takes longer having a toddler running around, but it saves sooooo much time during the week that it’s so worth it.
- Wash all of your fruits and veggies. I like to use my Thieves Cleaner to make sure things are actually cleaned and not rinsed.
- Cut your fruits and veggies how they need to be cut for your meal plan and place them in airtight containers.
- Strain, rinse, and store any beans that you may want to use.
- If you eat meat, pull out any meat that may need to be defrosted, and cook any protein that you want to precook for the next few days.
- Precook grains that may be needed for lunches, or dinners where you’re short on time.
- Prepare your 1 or 2 snacks that you have included in your meal planner.
- Make sure you have a very airtight container for your onions, otherwise your fridge will smell like onions, yuk!
- Store your spinach or lettuce with a piece of paper towel in the container/bag to absorb the moisture and keep your food fresh. Change out the paper towel as needed.
Cook Your Food
Now that you’ve done your meal planning and food prepping, cooking will be much much easier and faster. Whenever you need to cook a meal there’s no need to cut and deseed the veggies, all you have to do is grab your ingredients, cook it up, and eat!
There ya have it, a great process for meal planning and prepping your food so you can stay on track all week long. Make sure to download my free printable Meal Planner and Grocery List template, and get ready for a healthy week! If you have any other questions about making family cooking easier please leave me a comment below and I’ll help you how I can ❤️️