Weekly Meal Planner Pdf

As a busy mom, meal planning can sometimes feel like a tedious task that takes too much time. But what if I told you that creating a weekly meal plan could save time and money?

Not only does it help you stay organized and prepared, but it also helps you avoid the temptation of eating out or ordering takeout.

In this post, I’ll be sharing some tips on making a meal plan that works for you and your family so that you can enjoy stress-free meals throughout the week.

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How to Make Your Weekly Meal Plan

Meal Planning Printables PDF

Before you begin meal planning, you need to decide how many meals you’re planning for.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you looking to tackle all the meals?
  • Will you still eat one meal out each week?
  • Maybe have a fast food night after softball practice?
  • Breakfast is on the go, but you’re meal planning lunch and dinner?
  • Are you planning for the whole family for busy weeknights, or does someone work late?
  • Will breakfast be a piece of toast and fresh fruit during the week, or do you want to do an entire sit-down meal?

You could choose easy breakfast recipes to help you wrangle your busy schedule. As a busy working mom, you might need breakfast on the go or some oats you can throw in your slow cooker.

Once you decide how many meals, you can start filling in the blanks.

Start With a Blank Canvas

The key to creating a successful meal plan starts with a blank canvas. This means inventorying what you have in your pantry and fridge and planning meals around those ingredients.

Rather than going out and buying ingredients for specific recipes, start by figuring out what you already have and plan meals accordingly. A kitchen inventory is a bit of a project, but it will save you time and money.

This not only helps to save money on your grocery bill, but it also reduces food waste.

— Focus on Healthy Meals

You don’t have to go vegetarian if you don’t want to. But meal planning is best when it’s simple. And you know what is often the easiest food to plan? Nutritious meals.

Think rotisserie chicken and other quick meals that are focused on simple proteins.

— Keep it Simple

Your schedule and grocery list will thank you if you focus on easy meals. It’s easy to get excited and overcomplicate your meal ideas. But focus on the simple ones your family loves.

So what if you had spaghetti every third Thursday of the month? There’s nothing wrong with reusing your meal plan ideas. You’ll waste less food, and meal planning becomes a breeze.

— Meal Prep for the Win

No matter how committed you are to learning how to make a meal plan, life will try and throw a wrench in your plans by Wednesday—Thursday at the latest.

Get ahead of the game with dedicated meal prep time. That might mean chopping veggies, cooking a giant batch of brown rice for the week, or pre-cooking all of your ground beef, shredded chicken, and other proteins.

For busy moms, this might be the one key element to a successful meal-planning system. Meal prepping ensures that you can have dinner on the table quickly during the week.

You’re more likely to stick to your week’s meal plan if you’ve already put in half of the effort.

Meal preparation can be everything from pre-cooking a casserole and throwing it in the freezer to simply batch-cooking up some ingredients.

— Plan for Leftovers

Another meal planning for busy moms win is to include leftovers in your meal plan. Cooking in bulk can help save time in the kitchen, and having leftovers means you can freeze them later or use them for lunch the next day.

Look for recipes that make enough servings to eat off them for a few days. Or, consider making a double batch of the main dish or favorite side dishes.

— Get Inspired by Themes

Learning how to make a meal plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s better to keep things simple so that it’s easy to stick to. After all, complicating your meal planning totally defeats the purpose.

You can create theme nights such as Taco Tuesday, Meatless Monday, or Italian Night. This way, you don’t have to think too much about what to cook!

— Use in Season Produce

Life’s easier when you don’t have to remember to take things out of the freezer. If you’re like most moms, you have trouble getting your kids to eat their five-a-day veggie recommendation.

My favorite meal planning tip? Cut up peppers, carrots, and other veggies. Throw those on a tray during your cooking time and let the kids snack.

Pre-slicing is a huge time saver, the kids are getting some veggies, and you’re not feeling the pressure to get dinner on the dinner table before they self-destruct from the severe hunger they’re complaining about.

— Busy Mom Meal Planning Tip:

Don’t feel like you have to develop new recipes every week. You can rotate your most favorite recipes and meals and switch things up by adding different sides.

— Make Use of Technology

Technology can be an incredibly useful tool when it comes to meal planning. Numerous online meal-planning apps, such as Plan to Eat or Paprika, can help you organize your weekly meals.

I use Plan to Eat and LOVE it!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

The app even generates grocery lists so you know exactly what you need to buy. Time management for the win!

And yes, you can also utilize online recipe sites or Pinterest to find inspiration for new meals to add to your weekly meal plan. But beware of the black hole that is Pinterest.

First, you’re looking for a quick chicken recipe, and before you know it, you plan to DIY your bathroom. You’ve picked out tile but still don’t know what’s for dinner on Sunday.

— Get Everyone Involved

Finally, get everyone involved in the meal planning process.

Involve your family members. It makes mealtime more fun and engaging and helps combat picky-eater syndrome.

Kiddos can help pick out meals for the week or help with grocery shopping. Spouses can pitch in and help with the cooking.

The more everyone is involved, the smoother the process will be, and it may even lead to some fun family bonding.

Depending on the age of your kids, they can likely do more in the kitchen than you give them credit for.

How to Make a Meal Plan: Organization for Busy Moms

Meal planning doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can be an enjoyable activity that helps you save time and money in the long run.

Start with a blank canvas, plan for leftovers, keep things simple, utilize technology, and get everyone involved in how to meal plan.

You can easily create weekly meal plans that work for you and your family. So, don’t be afraid to try it out and let mealtime become a stress-free activity!

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