The average American will spend $2,625 each year at restaurants; this doesn’t even include the amount spent on unused groceries!
Whether you are trying to cut back on eating out or just pay less overall, meal planning can help you save time and money each night.
Meal planning can help your family eat healthier, save money, and even learn to enjoy eating at home.
If you’ve tried meal planning before with little success than you might not be meal planning for your family.
Meal planning is not a one size fits all situation, and you’ll likely have to tweak and make something that works for your family.
If you want to know how to make a meal plan that is going to work for your family, I’m going to show you how!
Figure Out How Many Meals You Need
Before you start flipping through your cookbooks, you need to figure out how many meals you’re going to make each week.
If you are meal planning for a family, then you will need to count meals per person even if you are going to be eating the same thing.
So if you are making dinner for four people, that is four dinners.
This will help you figure out how many meals you need to plan for each week.
What Meals Do You Eat Often?
Make a list of the meals that you and your family eat the most.
What makes up a typical week in your household?
It might be sandwiches, tacos, and pasta casseroles each week, what you want to be making is not important here.
Once you have this information, planning the rest of your meals is going to be easy!
How Long Does Food Last?
Now that you know how many meals you are making and what your family is eating often, it’s time to figure out how long the food in your house will last.
Ask yourself what items you buy frequently, and how often they last in your home?
Does a loaf of bread last just one week?
Will bags of salad last you multiple meals?
Or will your family eat the whole thing in only one night?
Once you know how long your food will last, you can plan and change your mindset.
You’ll look at that bag of salad and think to yourself that is four meals.
Make A Realistic Meal Plan
Now that you have a better understanding of what and how much your family eats, it’s time to start putting together a meal plan.
When you are making a meal plan, the rule of thumb should be to make one new recipe each week.
The rest of your meals should be things you have made before or make often.
This will make your meal plan easier to stick to.
Your meals should also be realistic with your time restraints.
If you only have a few minutes to make something for dinner, a meal that takes hours to make is not practical.
Look at your schedule before you create your meal plan to help you better plan your meals.
Write It Down
After you’ve made your meal plan, write it down in a place where the whole family can see it.
I keep a list on my fridge for easy reference.
You can even take it a step further and make notes of when you need to take specific items out of the freezer to defrost if required, or when to start making dinner.
Keep this in a written and central place will help you stick to your meal plan.
Your family will never have to ask what’s for dinner, and you’ll know exactly what to make each night.
Meal planning isn’t as hard as it sounds.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to put together a meal plan your family will look forward to every night and be able to stick to in the long run.
There is no such thing as a one size fits all style of meal planning, each family’s meal plan will be unique!
Your family meal plan will not be the same as mine, and our meal plans may look very different.
Find what works well for your family, and stick with it!
YOUR TURN: What meal do you make that your family would look forward to MORE than going out to eat? Let me know in the comments below!
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