You've probably heard the buzz about meal planning. I mean, it helps you eat healthier, saves you time and money, and can seriously decrease the Wednesday-night-what-the-heck-are-we-going-to-eat-stress. As a busy mama, taking time to meal plan can be a game-changer. However, you just might be making one (or more) of these mistakes; read through these to learn how to set yourself up for meal planning success!
You Don't Give Yourself Enough Time
If you think you can sit down and write a meal plan in 5 minutes before you head to the grocery store... but you have never written a meal plan in your entire life... girl, that's just not the best strategy. In fact, you'll probably just add to your stress, rather than increasing your calm.
What You Should Do: Set aside a good chunk of time on Saturday or Sunday to plan your meals for the week (think 2 hours). Heck, pour yourself a glass of wine and open up your Pinterest Instant Pot board for some inspiration. I make it a priority browse for new recipes (because I love it!) and to organize our week of meals based on what's going on in our calendar.
You Don't Pay Attention to Your Calendar
Imagine planning a 3 hour pot roast recipe for the Thursday night when every kid has a different sports practice. That definitely won't help you with your stress situation, friend. You have to take your life into account or you'll just derail your entire plan with take-out pizza.
What You Should Do: Sit down to make your meal plan with your calendar. Make note of nights you need a quick meal and when you have more time to try out the fancy recipe you pinned; this way, you can design your weekly meals to align with your life.
You Get a Little Too Ambitious
I'm talking, planning new gourmet meals, taking you over an hour, on every single night of the week. Ain't nobody got time for that!
What You Should Do: First of all, schedule a night for leftovers. There's honestly no need to cook every single night. Heck, you can even plan for eating out with the kids for special occasions or with your partner for date night. Cooking is not always mandatory for a meal plan.
I also encourage you to keep a running tally of your family favourites. For example, Platings and Pairings Southwestern Lentils is a once-a-month (at least) must-have on my meal plan. You can organize this with Pinterest, an actual binder, or whatever method you prefer. Just don't feel like you have to cook something new every single day forever.
You Don't Keep Track of Your Kitchen
Do you know what's in every drawer of your fridge and on every shelf of your pantry? That's ok, me neither, all the time anyway. But when you make your meal plan, do you shop your kitchen first, for the ingredients and leftovers than need to be used up?
What You Should Do: Before you pick your recipes or start to make a plan, go through your fridge and pantry for foods that need to be used up before they go bad.
Want to learn more about meal planning and healthy eating? We recommend these blog posts!
Meal Planning Basics for Busy Moms
10 Tips for Meal Planning
How to Lose Weight Happily