5 Easy Meal Planning Strategies for Busy Families

Does planning and making family dinners get you overwhelmed? Learn how to take control of dinner time with these 5 easy family meal planning strategies!

5 Easy Meal Planning Strategies for parents #moneysaving #timesaving #momhacks #dinnermenu #familydinner

Easy Family Meal Planning Strategies

Getting dinner on the table each night is no easy feat! There are so many factors that make it challenging to prep and cook dinner these days. Kids have evening activities, parents are busy and let’s not forget we have to manage those picky eaters!

Sometimes the biggest dinner challenge is deciding what to make for dinner!

 

1. Review the Family Schedule

First things first, when you are coming up with the dinner menu for the week, take a look at your family’s schedule! Check to see who has activities and which nights are our busy days.

This first step helps to determine a few things. You will know which nights you might not even to make dinner. It also helps you figure out which nights you have more time for meal prepping than others.

Pick those easy meals for busy nights and more time intensive recipes for nights you have no where to be! When you want to try out a new recipe or a recipe that takes a while, be sure to schedule the meal for a night that you have a lot of time!

2. Ask Your Family What They Want to Eat

One practice that can often be overlooked is actually asking your family what they want to eat for dinner.

Each week, take into account your family’s individual requests. You can even create a Family Recipe Binder so you have a collection of your family’s favorites in one place!

If your family is in a dinner time rut, get out some cookbooks or scour Pinterest for some new ideas. You could even take turns letting each of the kids pick out (and help with) dinner.

3. Establish Weekly Dinner Themes

To make it even easier to come up with a weekly dinner menu, you will want to create Weekly Dinner Themes.

Simple dinner themes that make meal planning easy! #mealplanning #dinnerthemes #dinnerideas

This is the most game changing step of family dinner planning!

Weekly dinner themes make it so easy to plug and place in a dinner idea. You can rotate your weekly dinner themes by seasons or monthly. But the general idea is that you have specific dinner “themes” each night of the week. You might have pasta night assigned to one night. That might mean lasagna one week and spaghetti another week. Taco night can mean anything from a nacho platter, to fajitas or taco salad bowls!

It is still easy to have variety with dinner themes!

 

 

4. Keep Meals Simple

If you are in a season of life that is very busy, give yourself grace when it comes to meals! Healthy meals can be easy. So if your goal is nourishing, healthy meals, then let go of your own notions that your meals also need to be fancy or complex. Save those elaborate recipes for another time.

Maybe you have some extra time on weekends. You could pick one day a week to try a new recipe or a recipe that is more labor intensive.

If you need some new cookbooks, check out these top family cookbooks that offer fool proof meal ideas!


 

5. Prepare as Much as You Can Ahead of Time

Lastly, once you have your dinner menu planned and you have the ingredients in your refrigerator, you can save yourself some time by prepping in advance. You might carve out a few hours on the weekend to dinner prep for the entire work. Or just carving out a few minutes in the morning to get a few things ready for dinner that night can save you some dinner time stress!

Does your dinner call for cooked chicken? You can prep a big batch of chicken in advance for a few meals worth of meat. You might want to chop up veggies for a few meal’s worth of ingredients. While you already have out the cutting board and kitchen tools, it is nice to prep once for multiple uses. All of these little meal prep steps save you time in the long run!

RELATED POST: MAKE AHEAD SNACK IDEAS TO PREP ON SUNDAYS

 

When you get organized with your dinner time process, you can experience the joy of peaceful family dinners with your family! Imagine if you didn’t have to panic each night about what to make for dinner and wonder if there will be enough time to make dinner. By implementing these easy meal planning strategies, you can actually THRIVE instead of barely survive your family’s meal time!

Looking to save even more time with meal planning? Get your groceries delivered through Instacart! You can save hours each month with this easy shopping hack! Save $10 on your first order with this affiliate link !

************************************************************************

 

What are some of your top easy meal planning strategies?

More Posts You Might Like:

Meal Planning for Overnight Guests

How to Save Money on Groceries (Without Cutting Coupons)

Let’s Stay Connected!Instagram | FB Group: Mom Life Simplified |FB Group: Homegoods HappyPinterest

Must have strategies to succeed at family dinner planning #momhacks #dinnerideas #organization #kids #family

Follow:

17 Comments

  1. October 9, 2018 / 7:41 am

    InstaCart sounds super handy; I like that it saves previous orders. I need to do better with meal planning; it would make things easier.

    Lauren

  2. candy
    October 9, 2018 / 8:48 am

    Getting everyone involved is important. My family writes down meal ideas on a board when they think of meals they would like to have for the next month.

  3. October 9, 2018 / 9:14 am

    It definitely helps to have a plan, I try to write a list when I do the food shopping so that I know what we’re having each day.

  4. October 9, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    Thank you for these easy to implement ideas. I have honestly never thought about a weekly theme to help me organize our menu. I will be trying this right away.

  5. October 9, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    I’ve never heard of Instacart. I’m anxious to look into it! I was just talking to a friend about how I needed to order my groceries online more. I’ve done it a handful of times and each time I do, I’m glad!

  6. Bailey
    October 9, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    Meal planning makes a WORLD of a difference in my house! I haven’t heard of Instacart either. Is it similar to Shipt?

    • Jaclyn
      Author
      October 9, 2018 / 8:42 pm

      Hmm I don’t know about Shipt! Instacart is linked to a grocery store near you.

  7. October 10, 2018 / 8:09 am

    I LOVE the idea of themed nights! Just started meal planning more intentionally and it’s tough! This is a great post!

  8. October 10, 2018 / 8:54 am

    This. Is. Awesome. I have been wanting to do meal prep forever but I always feel overwhelmed and never know where to start. I really like the idea of themes! I will be implementing your tips. Thanks for the great article!

  9. October 10, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    I love asking my family for ideas for meals. It makes my life so much easier and keeps them happier. What great tips!

  10. October 10, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    New visitor, here! I just had to say that I LOVE Instacart. I have a 17 month old and it has to be one of the best things we did for ourselves as new parents. Thanks for sharing!

  11. October 10, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    I absolutely LOVE meal planning. I like how you have theme nights and my kids definitely love breakfast for dinner! I’m going to incorporate that into my meal plan this week! Thanks for the tips!

  12. Shannon
    October 10, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    Wow you’ve got a great system going!!! Breakfast for dinner would definitely be on my meal list!!!

  13. Andrea
    October 11, 2018 / 6:58 am

    Thanks so much for all the good info. Love the idea about sticking to a theme , I feel like that really helps with coming up with dinner ideas easier !

  14. October 11, 2018 / 7:00 am

    These are great tips to get food on the table most nights. I just love your site! so happy and helpful! 🙂

  15. October 12, 2018 / 8:33 am

    I love the daily themes and try to do that when I’m trying to think of what to make for a week, but in general I’m awful at meal planning! I’ve been doing grocery pick up from Walmart which makes it easier to remember everything I need to buy at one time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.