“What’s for Dinner?” 10 Meal Planning Tips!

You’d think as moms, our excellent multitasking skills such as texting while making sandwiches, getting the kids to baseball practices and recitals while still managing time to do our nails, that we’d do better in the meal planning department. But let’s face it… How many times have we found ourselves around dinner time wondering, what are we going to eat tonight?!

Meal planning is such an issue amongst moms that we’ve talked about it several times at Austin Moms Blog…and will probably continue to talk about it! 

Dinner time can be such a magical time to talk about the day’s happenings with your family, but just a short year ago I wasn’t so great. Every night after work, I’d find myself on my Google Maps app, typing: “Chick-fil-A near me” or “Chicken Strips near me”. Once I took control of the situation and started grocery shopping ahead of time dinner conversations quickly became the best time of my day.

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So to get started, I have a few helpful suggestions in the Meal Planning department…

10 Meal Planning Tips, Austin Moms Blog

1. 2014-03-25 18.56.25Get a “Menu” Dry Erase or Chalk Board:

  • I write other reminders on it as well, but I find the most useful purpose of the board is to help me remember what I bought at the store. It’s easy to forget the carrots in the produce drawer. So even if you don’t stick to the menu exactly, it gives you meal possibilities 😉

2 . Take Out or Dine Out:

  • Don’t try to buy groceries for the entire week. Plan for Chik-fil-A. Yes, put it on the calendar.

3. Try To Mix It Up!

  • I’ll plan a veggies night with squash, zucchini, and then we’ll have spaghetti and garlic bread (don’t forget the garlic bread!) one night and fish sticks another night. Depending on your eating preferences, you can plan your pasta night, seafood night, junk food night a week in advance.

4. Use That Crock-Pot and Rice Cooker!

  • I use my rice cooker to steam veggies and it works like a charm! Put some stew meat, carrots, red potatoes and an onion in the crock pot and cook it on low for 6 hours or high for 4 and you’re good to go!

5. Find Out the favorites In the House!

  • You might love grilled brussels sprouts and salmon, but that doesn’t mean anyone else will. By finding out what the favorites are in the house, you can even plan to make sure each one gets one meal they “love” each week!

6. Keep it Healthy

  • For a guide on daily calorie intakes per age, check out ChooseMyPlate.Gov by clicking  here. I try to include veggies and fruits with most of our meals.

7. Need Inspiration?

  • For inspiration check out bon appetit’s family meals here!

8. Gluten Free or Paleo? No Problem!

  • For gluten free and paleo diets, let PrepDish do the meal planning for you. For more information about Prepdish check out our previous post, here.

9. Grocery Store Apps

  • Your life will be easier if you can plan meals ahead! I use the Evernote app or Sticky Note app to write my grocery list, so I can just pull it up each week while my son has fun checking off the boxes on my phone as we go down the isles. He’s 9 years old right now, but it’s just as fun for little ones to check things off a list too, so you can always write out a list and give them a crayon so they can “help” too.2014-03-25 18.56.00

10. Utilize a Meal Prep Service!

  • Have you ever heard of Dream Dinners? That’s okay if you haven’t because we will be sharing our journey in their kitchen later today! You won’t want to miss the easy and affordable meal prep service!

Feel free to check out my guest spot on eating Organic on a budget!

What are some of your favorite meals for the week and when do you grocery shop?

 

 

 

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