How Menu Planning Can Save You Time and Reduce Your Stress Level
By: Michelle Shaeffer
Busy moms spend a lot of time preparing nutritious and yummy meals for their families. It isn’t the cooking and assembling the meals that takes so long – planning the meals and shopping for the necessary ingredients can take more time than the actual cooking!
Does This Sound Familiar?
Have you ever started to cook dinner at the end of the day, then realized you don’t have all the ingredients you need on hand? At the last minute, you have to switch gears, and prepare a whole different meal. Or maybe you decide to run to the grocery story to buy that one thing. Maybe you even give up and decide to eat out instead.
In any case, the rest of your evening is off kilter, and you end up spending more time that you planned on feeding your family.
You can save time and reduce your stress level by planning and shopping for your menu ahead of time. Some families will plan meals a full month ahead. For others, it goes week by week.
An Easy Way to Start Meal Planning
The easiest way to start menu planning is to get a calendar with lots of room to write in every day. Write down what you will be eating every day in the calendar spaces for the next month. When you look at your daily menus all at once, you can make sure your family’s diet is well rounded, and they’re getting a good variety of healthy foods.
While you’re planning, think about which meals will create leftovers you can use the next day. Plan for leftovers and how to use them so they won’t go to waste sitting in your fridge.
You can save more time by planning for times to cook once and eat twice. For example, if you are cooking ground beef for one meal, make a note for yourself to cook extra, and then plan what you’ll use it for.
Are some of your evenings really rushed? Plan to make quick, nutritious meals on those days. For instance, if Tuesday nights are hectic because Johnny’s going to soccer and Suzie’s going to ballet, and you have 20 minutes to eat, plan a meal you can prepare and eat quickly. That way you won’t be tempted to eat out at the local fast food place, or make unhealthy choices.
Get input from the rest of the family when you’re planning meals for the month or the week. If they have a hand in deciding what to eat, there is a better chance they will eat it. Also, you can make sure everyone’s favorite meals are included.
Meal Planning Makes Grocery Shopping Easier Too
Meal planning makes grocery shopping easier too. You can build your shopping list from your menu. Write up a grocery list of everything you need to buy for the week ahead, or month ahead, depending on how often you shop.
When you plan your meals ahead of time, you can save time planning your meals, preparing your meals, and shopping for the ingredients. Instead of feeling stressed about the preparing the next meal, meal time can become the best part of your family’s day.
Source: WAHM Articles