Our family has been meal planning for years now to cut down our food waste, make mealtime more manageable, and save money.

After years of planning meals, sometimes things can get a little routine.

While routine can make meal planning easier, it can also make it annoying.

If you’re looking for a new and innovative way to take your meal planning to the next level, then you have got to try these tips!

Meal Planning Services

Whether you are looking to slash your grocery budget, or just put together meals in less time, meal planning services can be a great way to revamp your meal plan!

My favorite meal planning service is eMeals.

They have a budget-friendly option that will lower your grocery bill to just $85 a week! [DO YOU NEED TO SAY $85 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR OR WHATEVER IT IS?]

Meal planning services are a great way to get some new ideas into your meal planning, without worrying about how much you will spend.

Create An Atmosphere

One of the most appealing parts of restaurants is the atmosphere.

If you’ve ever been inside of a Mexican restaurant, then you probably know what I’m talking about.

There is Spanish music playing, the decor usually reminds you of something you’d find out of Mexico, and everything is made to draw you in.

You can create that same atmosphere right at home! Put on some music, and even dress up a little. You’d be surprised how quickly you can dress up a simple meal.

When I’m putting together my meal plan, I make sure to include at least one meal that will allow us to do this.

Try Freezer Cooking

Freezer cooking takes a little more work when it comes to planning, but the potential savings is such a payoff!

You will not only spend less time in the kitchen preparing dinner each night, but you will save money by not eating out, and there is less clean up!

When putting together your meal plan, try and add one or two freezer friendly meals to the list.

During your meal prep, go ahead and make these meals, and freeze them for the busiest nights.

Follow A Pre-Planned Meal Plan

If you don’t want to spend the money on a meal planning service, you can still follow a pre-planned meal plan!

Here is a great 30-day meal plan list from Today you can check out.

There are a ton of sites out there that offer 30 days of easy and cheap meals you can make for your family.

This is a great way to cut down on your meal planning time, and even try some new recipes!

Swap Meal Plans With A Friend

Do you know someone who meal plans too?

Try planning each other’s meals for one week!

This is a great way to get some fresh perspective, and you’ll get to try something new every single day!

If you are in a meal planning rut, this can be a great way to get out of it without reinventing the wheel.

You can even go shopping together and help pick out the grocery items.

Use A Meal Planning App

Meal planning apps can be great for planning your meals right from your phone!

Cook Smarts is more than just a meal planning app; it’s the entire meal planning service!

Cook Smarts helps its users plan out meals for the week, help you learn to cook, try new recipes, and eat healthier food.

The best part? This service is only $6 per month!

Another app I love is called Pepperplate, which allows you to organize your recipes and use them to create your meal plan.

You can even build your shopping list right in the app!

It’s free to use and is a great way to have everything you need all in one place!

Create A Menu Planner

Start by creating a jar of all the recipes your family loves to make.

These can be on scrap pieces of paper, cardstock, or whatever you want.

You can take this a step further by labeling them by sides, main dishes, desserts, etc.

When it comes time to meal plan, draw a card out of the jar and add it to your meal plan!

You can create your own menu planner with step by step instructions here.

There are so many things you can do to take your meal planning to the next level.

Whether you’re looking to make it even easier, or just add a little more fun to your boring dinners, you’ll find it here!


YOUR TURN: Do you have a friend that you could swap meal plans with? Let me know in the comments below!

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There are so many things you can do to take your meal planning to the next level!