Easy Ideas for Stress-less Meal Planning

Looking for ways to make dinner time easier on yourself?  Today I'm sharing Easy Ideas for Stress Less Meal Planning 

Easy Ideas for stress less meal planning pinterest pin.

I bet I can guess one of the pain points in your family life ... it's dinner time, right?  I know it is, because it is for me too!  After a long day of work, school, housekeeping, running errands, and all of the things that life entails, it's such a bummer to have to make dinner too.  5pm often sneaks up on me and I catch myself asking, What's for Dinner?  

I'm not saying I have all the answers because I do not.  I still occasionally struggle with dinner time because I am a human mom after all.  But I do have some ideas that have been really helpful to me in solving dinner crisis.  

Easy Ideas For Less Stressful Meal Planning 

There is no super easy fix to answering What's for Dinner (besides having a live in chef - a girl can dream).  But with a little bit of prep, it can go much smoother.  

Plan Ahead

Like with just about everything in our life, problem solving comes with doing things differently.  If you want to solve the meal crisis in your home, you're going to have to plan ahead.  

Write Meal Ideas in Calendar.

This may seem like such a pain, but I promise this has been the key to my success.  Each Sunday night as I'm winding down from the weekend, I take out my phone and plan the next week's meals.  I look at the calendar, consider our weekly schedule, think about my family's preferences and all of the things I already have in the fridge, freezer and pantry.  Then I plan accordingly.   I then write the meals (in pencil- just in case) on my paper calendar.

Keep a Running List of Favorite Meals

Having a list already made of some of our family favorite meals makes it super easy to plug them in to the meal calendar.

List of Meal Ideas for Easy Meal Planning.

In order to make meal planning easier on myself, I keep a running list of our family's favorite meals.  Since I always have my phone with me, I usually do this in the notes section.  But keeping them in a notebook works too.  That way when I am meal planning, I already have a bunch of ideas to pull from.  Sometimes the meal ideas get stale, so I usually look on Pinterest every few weeks for tasty meal ideas and add them to my list.  

Use On-line Grocery Ordering

Online Grocery ordering in walmart app.

Using on-line grocery ordering is a GAME CHANGER!  I cannot recommend it enough.  On Sunday's when I am doing my weekly meal planning, I pull up the Walmart app and order my groceries for the following day.  This is not a sponsored post but I just have to tell you, you should totally get Walmart + and get your groceries delivered.  I am usually very happy with the way my groceries are picked and the very few times I haven't been, it's been super easy to return them and get reimbursed.  For real, if you take nothing else from this post, you should take my advice and do online grocery ordering!

Plan for Leftovers

Meal Planning ideas for busy families.

When you cook a meal, make it easier on future you by cooking a little bit extra to leave for leftovers.  Now some of you (and some of my kids) do not like leftovers, but I love them!  It barely makes any extra work to add a little bit more, but it adds an extra meal.  You can use them for lunches the next day or on a FFYS night.  

Plan a FFYS Night

Meal Planning-  pot on a stove.

What is FFYS?  It is Fend For Your Self, aka a night off from cooking.  Now that my kids are older, they are capable of making themselves a meal or two.  So I build FFYS nights into our weekly meal plan.  I keep a list on the side of the fridge of what's available on FFYS nights.  It is usually:

  • macaroni and cheese
  • frozen pizza
  • chicken nuggets and fries
  • salad
  • eggs and toast
  • smoothie
  • grilled cheese
  • quesedillas
  • leftovers

In our house it usually means everyone makes themselves some mac and cheese or a frozen pizza.  They aren't the healthiest options, but for one night, everyone will survive.  

Ok so to recap, Easy Ideas for Less Stressful Meal Planning are:

Plan Ahead

Keep a running List of Favorite Meals

Use Online Grocery Shopping

Plan for Leftovers

Schedule FFYS

Hopefully you can use one or two of these tips to help you make dinner struggles a thing of the past, or at least a little less often!