Make Your Meal Plan Happen This Week

Make Your Meal Plan Happen This Week - Take these steps to make great meals, save money, and enjoy time with the people you love.

You can be a freezer cook extraordinaire or a whiz at grocery shopping on a budget or even a dynamo when it comes to creating a delicious and nutritious meal plan, but if you don’t get food on the table in a timely manner, all your prior efforts kinda fall on their faces. If the freezer meal stays rock solid or the bargain ingredients just sit in the pantry, you haven’t reached the ultimate goal: feeding your family.

Take these steps right now to make dinners happen this week:

1. Take inventory.

What do you have already that you can use up this week?

2. Create your plan.

Grab one of my free meal plans or follow this meal planning series to craft one of your own.

3. Shop for necessities.

Store your purchases accordingly. If you know you’re going to cook that meat tonight, don’t put it in the freezer. If you’re going to make pasta right now, leave it on the counter and get a pot of water going.

4. Start prepping.

Need to cook eggs, make salsa, chop vegetables. Do those things right now so you’re ahead of the game. Check out this list to see what you can prep in just an hour to give you a great jump on the week.

5. Make a list of things to thaw.

If you have both a side-by-side and a deep freeze, move the things you will use this week into your kitchen freezer. Tack a list on the front of what you need to pull. Maybe even pull some things in advance. Some things take longer than you expect.

Making dinner yourself will save you money. It will help you eat better. And it will give you the opportunity for more face time with the people you love. Now, get busy!

What’s YOUR trick for making meal plans happen?

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Comments

  1. I love your classical reference! Thank you for good information. I appreciate your blog.

  2. For first time meal planners and pros alike, I find a great tool in weekly meal planning is flexibility. As busy moms know, even the best made plan can be shaken when unexpected practice, meetings, etc. pop up. I find that if I set several days worth of meat out and plan meals for the week, not set myself to a specific dinner on a specific day, that I do better with my planning. Some days I just don’t want to eat the pasta that I planned or I don’t have the time I thought I would to make that stuffed chicken. When I’m flexible I can say to myself “this week we are having pasta, chicken, soup and paninis” and figure out later what day I will make it, I still feed my family well without feeling like a failure or getting flustered when plans change. I love this blog and look forward to each new post! Thanks for so many great ideas.

  3. For years I have used the same process and it works perfectly for us. (as long as I stick to it. Ahem) It eliminates last-minute runs to the store and frustration and confusion at 5:30 when everyone is starved and you don’t know what’s for dinner:

    I keep a good old analog 5 x 7 notepad on my fridge. (I use sheet magnets that are peel-off adhesive on one side to make the pad magnetic). I love to cook and I am in the kitchen area a lot so this placement makes sense for me.

    As I think of meals and/or come across recipes during the week I jot it down in the upper corner of my notepad. The rest of the sheet is the grocery list and I arranged it roughly by category (e.g., produce, dairy, frozen items). This helps me fly through the store. And with the menu plan right there in the corner I don’t get stuck trying to remember “what the heck did I plan for meals this week?” because it’s right there on the grocery list. I don’t overbuy and I can take advantage of sales if I see something that would fit in well with my plan.
    I shop on Fridays so I know that by Thursday I need to have rounded out the next week’s meals. By Friday I have a solid plan for the next week and I don’t worry about which days I make which meals.
    Any meals I planned/shopped for that didn’t get executed for whatever reason on a particular week go onto the next week’s plan and I have a little head start.

    I always make double batches when it makes sense to so I can freeze them for future meals when, like the previous commenter, I just don’t *feel* like making any of the meals I planned the week before.

    When I’m chopping/prepping ingredients for a dish, I consult my meal plan to see if other dishes in the week will use the same items. I can prep the extra and stick it in a tupperware in the fridge. When I remember to do this I can get away with chopping onions (for example) only once a week!

    Lastly, I always keep a large supply of eggs in the fridge from my girlfriend who owns a farm. Absolutely everyone in my family is extremely happy with a pile of scrambled eggs, toast and fruit in a pinch.

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