As the mom, you are usually the one in charge of figuring out what’s for dinner. And let’s be honest. Sometimes it feel like a burden rather than a privilege to feed your family.
I know it sure felt like that for me and even some weeks now it still feels like that if I’m not in the right mindset.
But feeding your family IS a privilege. It’s an incredibly important job you have. Yes, I believe it should be thought of as a job. Take it seriously. That means you have to plan for the meals your family will eat, not wait until 5:00 to ask “What’s for dinner?”
Believe me. I know all of this from experience.
I used to wait until the late afternoon to think about dinner and it made my life a whole lot more stressful. It wasn’t until I learned how to make a weekly meal plan, that I realized how much smoother my week went!
The same is true for you. When you meal plan, you don’t have to stress about what you will feed your family each night. It’s just one less thing to worry about and consume your mind.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you how important it is to meal plan! Now, let’s talk about how to do it.
How to Weekly Meal Plan
1. Limit the New Recipes
Do you feel like every meal has to be a new recipe? It doesn’t.
There are so many recipes on Pinterest and in cookbooks, that it may feel like you are supposed to make a complicated meal every night. But if you are choosing complicated recipes with a lot of different ingredients, cooking will take more time and energy. Things you probably don’t have much of as a mom!
So limit new recipes to a place where it feels manageable to you.
2. Serve Simple Side Dishes
It’s also important to note that not everything you serve should require a multi-step recipe with a bunch of ingredients.
Some of my family’s favorite side dishes are roasted or steamed vegetables. I simply change up the seasoning and the vegetables to add variety.
Okay, now that you have simplified the food you will prepare, it will be a lot easier to start planning. Here’s the next step.
3. Create a Master List
If you try to meal plan by staring at a blank sheet of paper, nothing will come to mind. On the flip side, if you try to meal plan by looking through 50 cookbooks, and the endless recipes on the internet, you’ll get overwhelmed and spend needless time looking for meals.
Instead, take some time to initially make a list of meals your family enjoys eating. You can ask them for ideas, think about the meals you have eaten in the past week, and list the foods you like to buy when you go out to eat. Pretty soon, you’ll have a fairly good size list.
This would also be a time to get out your favorite cookbook and write down a few meal ideas from there. Remember you aren’t creating a weekly meal plan yet. You are simply gathering meal ideas to pull from when you do plan.
Now, it’s time to actually plan your meals for the week. I know it seems like we did a lot of prep work already, but here’s the thing. That work you initially do ahead of time is going to save you so much time each week and make your life a lot easier.
If you create a master meal list initially, you’ll be more likely stick with weekly meal planning. And if you never seem to stick with meal planning for the long haul, chances are you don’t have a master list to refer to.
So let’s finish this out and get your meal plan done.
4. Plan from your list.
Pick a day to plan. Then grab your list, and calendar.
Look ahead at the week. Are there nights when you will have limited time to cook? Will you be busy some days and not have a lot of energy for cooking? These are the nights you need to choose quick, easy meals.
Not every meal has to be hard. At my house, there is at least one night a week when we eat a frozen pizza or frozen chicken tenders.
Another night we have leftovers and one night we eat out. That means I only have to make about 4 meals a week. I don’t expect to spend a lot of time and energy every night to cook. As a busy mom, you shouldn’t either or you’ll get burnt out and cooking dinner for your family will feel like a burden.
Last, once the week is over, don’t throw your meal plan out. Save it, and once you have 4-5 weeks of meal plans, you’ll have an entire month’s worth of meals that you could potentially rotate each month over and over.
As you put your meal plan together, you’ll want to pick a main dish and a couple of complimentary sides. That may be what you struggle with – putting it all together.