Your weekly meal plan might be broken down to the day, or you might plan for five days worth of meals, and then choose what you’re in the mood for each day. This is a personal choice, and will depend on how much structure you and your family need. When you’re meal planning, keep in mind:
- Your family’s food preferences — no need to make breakfasts if no one eats that early
- Your weekly schedule — have some quick and on-the-go options for busy days
- Family dynamics — older kids can help with prep, cooking, and cleaning
- What’s on hand — for less waste / spending, create menus that use on-hand ingredients
Online Meal Planning
Ordering groceries online isn’t an option where we live, but it is for many people in urban and suburban areas. If you want to order online, start a grocery list and keep adding to it throughout the week (similar to if you have a paper one on the refrigerator to take in-hand to the store). Some folks swear by online shopping, saying they prefer to spend the extra money for someone else to do the shopping because it saves them from impulse purchases. You know whether you tend to impulse shop or not, so again, this is a personal (and potentially geographic) preference.)
Appliances & Early Meal Prep
Kitchen appliances are a huge time saver today…something our grandmothers would have cherished! You’ll want to take some time to get to know your appliance, but utilize them for convenient, healthy meals. Incorporate appliance-specific recipes into your meal planning each week to save time.
If you have them on hand, use your crockpot, air fryer, and InstaPot. However, if you’re in the market for a time-saving kitchen appliance, you can’t go wrong with the Ninja Foodi. This is the one we have, and it is A-MAZ-ING! (It does even more than the famous InstaPot.)
Freezer CookingIf you know you’re going to have a busy period, try freezer cooking. This is essentially cooking everything ahead of time and then pulling it out of the freezer to reheat. Not all recipes lend themselves to this method, but many recipe PARTS do. You can prep taco meat or spaghetti sauce ahead of time, making dinnertime easier. Check out the freezer cooking resources below to get you started!
A Slow-Cooked Year
This book includes : the whats and whys behind crockpot cooking, how-to tips and tricks, safe crockpot guidelines, printable planning sheets, and more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!
Another Year of Freezer Cooking
For anyone who wants to get a leg up on getting healthy meals on the family table, without much fuss…this book includes : the whats and whys behind freezer cooking how-to tips and tricks pantry freezing guidelines, printable planning sheets more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!
Snag this adorable tee to tout your homeschool status and celebrate the #HomeschoolMomLife!
Resources for Meal Planning
- Introduction to Freezer Cooking
- Stress-Free Family Meal Planning
- Taste of Home: Meal Planning
- The Ultimate Meal Planning Guide
- Monthly Menus (covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks & dessert)
- Homemade Baker’s Box
- Whole Food Cooking e-book
- Magnetic Meal Planner w/ List Feature (easy organization!)
- FREE – Tiny Steps Tuesday e-book
Novel Studies & Hands-On Helpers
- Around the World in 80 Days + International Cooking
- KidStir Cooking Kits
- Home Economics year-long curriculum
Recipes to Get You Started!
- Six Basic Freezer Cooking Recipes
- Apple Recipes for your Crockpot
- Hearty Stew & Homemade Bread
- Nourishing Homemade Bone Broth