Meal Planning Tips

Angelyn Harrenstein's avatar

by Angelyn Harrenstein

Please tell me I’m not the only adult on Earth that finds very little enjoyment in the task of weekly meal planning. 

I will avoid it for as long as possible, until our refrigerator and cupboards are nearly bare and going to the grocery store is no longer avoidable.  

Honestly, getting take-out is super convenient and easy, but it can get costly. 

Going to shop for a week’s worth of groceries without a list is a recipe for overspending and forgetting necessary ingredients to form a real meal, so going in with a plan is best. 

I am sharing a few ideas to save you time and money for planning and preparing meals each week that have worked for our family. 

These might seem obvious or simple to you, but they have just made the entire process less burdensome and a little more fun for me.


Have family pick a meal each

I find myself stuck in a meal planning rut, and end up picking the same few things week after week. One thing I have done to help get new meal ideas on the menu, or at least bring something different into the meal rotation, is to ask my husband and daughter to each pick a meal they would like to have one night during the week. 

That leaves me with four more meals to select myself, if we plan to have leftovers one night. 

This little tip also helps if you have a picky eater by giving them an opportunity to feel ownership in meal planning and comfort knowing they will like the food served on the night they chose the meal. 



Crockpot, slow cooker, magic cooker….whatever you call it, it’s amazing!  

You can throw just about anything into a slow cooker and in 6 hours be serving your hungry family a hot meal that required very little effort. 

To make things even easier do yourself a favor and buy the slow cooker liners that can be lifted out and thrown away after the meal, leaving virtually no cleanup. (Scrubbing the slow cooker is absolutely zero fun)

Set designated theme nights

I grew up with pizza every Sunday night. Many families have Taco Tuesday. Thursdays are for leftovers. 

Find a meal your family especially loves and serve it on the same day of the week for a while. One less meal you have to think about, and more time you can spend enjoying eating with your family.  Everyone wins.

Set schedule for types of meat

Here is a tip I tried in my meal planning rotation for a while. 

I try not to serve chicken every night of the week, and sometimes it’s so convenient to choose recipes containing ground beef. 

To keep things fresh and stay out of that recipe rut, try planning each meal around a different type of meat.  Mondays- fish, Tuesdays- beef, Wednesdays- pork, Thursdays- chicken, and you get the idea. 

I found this saved me time in choosing what meals to serve throughout the week because it narrowed down the options. As much as I love pinterest, it can be overwhelming to search for meals and find thousands of possibilities. 

Keep Track

My final tip for saving time while meal planning is to keep a list tacked up inside of a cupboard door of the go-to meals your family loves. 

You could even make a list for each season of the year, as summers include more grilled menu options and winters for us contain several slow cooker meals. 

It’s a quick reference tool to keep handy if you are drawing a blank on what meal to serve.  


Now if I could just figure out how where to buy a magical fairy that will cook all of these meals for me…….

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