Two days ago, we talked about how creating a recipe binder for the recipes you use a lot cuts down on time and effort in both planning and executing your meals.
Then yesterday, we talked about how creating a “quick win” meal list lightens your mental load, once again, cuts down time and effort.
What these two things have in common is that they simplify meal planning – that’s the whole point of this series.
So today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into that concept. Because the one thing I keep hearing over, and over, and over again is “I just can’t stick to meal planning!”
I get it, because I’ve been there, and I firmly believe that the reason we can’t stick with it is because we’re missing a key component.
How to Win at Meal Planning – Keep It Super Simple
It’s not a new concept, we all know it, but sometimes, we don’t apply it.
Here’s the thing; meal planning is supposed to be a tool we use to stay on top of things. To be more efficient, to save time on a repetitive task so we have more time for other things.
To simplify our lives.
But instead of letting it, we so often think that because we’re planning, we have to serve more complicated meals. More involved recipes with more ingredients, or more side dishes, or whatever isn’t going to help you stick to meal planning.
Now, if that’s your goal, then meal planning will for sure help you get there.
But first, you have to grease the groove.
You have to get in the habit of meal planning, and do it until it becomes second nature. THEN you can add another element – one complication at a time.
So look guys, when you meal plan, the point is to be prepared. To look at your calendar and know to put simple meals on the rotation when you have a busy day.
It doesn’t matter if you plan peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch this week.
You’re still greasing the groove.
So simplify, simplify, simplify, and you’ll stick to it, I promise.
Strip meal planning down to the bare bones. Use that monthly template over and over again if you want.
It will make you life so much easier!
One of the coolest things about meal planning I can show you in this binder.
Look at these, these are amazing because they’re meal plans already made for me.
See, I did the work once, yes, for several weeks, but because I stuck to meal planning, now I have all these meal plans with their corresponding grocery lists sitting in protective sleeves in the back of my meal planning binder ready to be used again with zero work on my part.
In fact, now? I don’t really have to meal plan ever again if I don’t want to!
That is the payoff to sticking with a meal plan for even just a little while.
An easier life!
So in my meal planning binder, obviously, I have my recipes which I’ve already shown you, and then I have brainstorming templates that help get the creative juices flowing when I’m trying to come up with new meals, you see here a theme night template, and then a sheet for writing things down. Now, I’ve laminated these and I just write on them with a dry erase marker so I don’t have to print them out again.
Then I have a template for my month of quick win dinners a couple blank meal planning and grocery list templates, a pantry and freezer inventory list so I can make sure I have what I need, and also know when to buy more. And then a few helpful things for saving money life a price comparison chart, and my pre-planning checklist that reminds me to check store sales flyers, print coupons, use the Ibotta app and things like that.
So that is, in a nutshell, how I plan my meals, and like I said, I keep my old meal plans in protective sleeves in the back so I can reuse them and that cuts down on my workload tremendously.
Getting a process down pat for getting meals on the table is a huge step toward being that organized mom you want to be because it’s something we do 3x a day 7 days a week.
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