Last week, my six-year-old asked if we could have spaghetti on Mondays and pizza on Fridays and I thought it was a brilliant idea. Then I’d only have to scramble to come up with quick meal ideas Tuesday through Thursday.
It got me to thinking, what if I put an actual meal plan together to simplify the work week and still provide healthy meal options (pizza being the exception). Through the power of Google, I found a few great planning tools and ideas:
- There’s an app for that! Use the Menu Planner App to keep recipes handy, create shopping lists, plan meals, etc.
- If you haven’t quite gone the paperless route yet, try a meal planner template which you can print out and use to figure out and map your meals for the week. There are even pre-populated templates that are great for garnering ideas.
- And then, there’s the step-by-step guide to actually planning on a budget. Here are a few of my favorite tips: make a master list of meals so that you have a few go-to’s on hand, plan for all three meals so you can figure out how to best use leftovers, and plan your meals around what you already have in your pantry and / or what you find in the grocery store sale circular to save a little cash.
- When planning, don’t forget the power of the slow cooker – the goddess of all kitchen appliances. Throwing a few items in a crock pot and leaving it for later can be a great way to save time and use what you have. For kid-friendly slow cooker ideas, click here.
My goal this weekend is to use some or all of the ideas above to plan for next week. It’s a trial run so it may be dicey but I’ll give it a whirl and report back with my favorite best practices. But, one thing I can guarantee – Spaghetti and Meatball Mondays and Pizza Fridays are definitely a go! Happy planning!