Food and Meal Planning
by Megan Spears
If you are a busy parent there is nothing worse than coming home after a long hard day and staring blankly into the refrigerator wondering what’s for dinner. Your motivation is low and the idea of being creative in the kitchen isn’t at the top of your list. To make matters worse, the kids are standing right behind you asking, “What’s for dinner, I am hungry.”
I started meal planning about a year ago and since then I not only feel more organized in the kitchen but I feel a little more in control of what I am feeding my family. For me, the advantages of meal planning outweigh the disadvantages...
Advantages of Meal Planning
- Spend less by following a set grocery list
- Likely to make fewer impulse purchases with a grocery list
- Create more balanced meals by planning ahead
- Expanded menu choices with new recipes
- Eating at home as a family
Disadvantages of Meal Planning
- Takes time to do the pre-planning
- Takes time to clip coupons
- Takes time to search ads for sale items
What it comes down to is your time and where you want to spend it. At first, I will admit it took me well over an hour to search the ads, plan out meals and clip coupons. However, if time is money I consider it time well spent. I would rather spend my time planning out meals then spending it on take out Chinese (although I do love Kung Pao Chicken every now and then).
Five Easy Steps to Planning Your Meals:
Shop the ads before you plan! This is really important when deciding what to cook. If you know what is on sale you can plan accordingly and save money!
Plan out meals for a set period of time (i.e. one to two weeks). I plan out two weeks at a time mostly because I do my grocery shopping every two weeks.
Shop in your pantry first. If you know what’s in the pantry, you can better plan out what you will need or what you want to make.
Clip coupons. Check your paper each Sunday but also search the internet (this takes about 20 minutes to do, but it worth the time, you can save about $5-$10 from internet coupons).
Design your meals. Based on sale items and your coupons you can design healthy balanced meals for your family and your schedule.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be time consuming but the key is to invest some time to plan ahead. You may find yourself with some extra time after dinner to get out for a family walk to the park or enjoy the sunset!
Megan Spears is an organizing consultant and owner of Disorder2Order. Disorder2Order provides household management solutions for busy families and multi-tasking parents. We specialize in home or office organizing solutions; as well as time and paper management systems. Helping our clients create order from all the disorder of life is what we do!
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