Parenting

14 Tips to Help Organize Your Meal Planning

Meal planning is actually the most dreaded chore I have on my to do list. Like, I dread it more than I actually dread cooking!! {That’s a lot of dreading. Sorry.}

As my journey through motherhood grows, I realize that my role as a wife and mother is evolving into something more important than I initially realized before I even said, “I do” at the alter.

Motherhood is about taking the lead when no one else will. Motherhood is about setting an example to your children about what a family should look like. Motherhood is about showing your husband that he married someone who will care for his children in a way that is better than when he grew up.

Alas, I went scouring through my most favorite site ever (ahem, Pinterest) and found 14 tips to help organize your meal planning. I’ll return to this post whenever I find myself in a rut, but I hope that you’ll find these interesting, too, and refer to this as well when you need to!

 

Menu Board

Create a visual menu board to display in your kitchen! I like the idea of having something visual to everyone in the house so that no one is constantly asking, “What’s for dinner?”

I found a really cute dry erase menu chalkboard magnet on Amazon for about $20. It reminds me of those fancy ones you see in coffee shops!

Menu Plan for the Entire Year

You heard me. An entire YEAR. Here’s how to do it:

Figure out what you like to eat!!
Breakfast – take 10 of your favorite breakfast ideas and multiply that by 40 = 400 breakfasts for the year.
Lunch – a loaf of bread can go a long way! You can use the bread for pb&j’s, turkey sandwiches, and any other creative sandwiches you can think of. 1 loaf of bread x 365 = 365 loaves of bread.
Dinner – I break these down into my favorite categories:

  • Pasta Meals
  • Chicken Meals
  • Beef Meals
  • Pork Meals
    9 meals of each category x 4 = 36 different meals
    36 different meals x 10 = 360 meals!

Recipe Binder

Gather all those recipes you printed out, slide them into plastic sheet protectors, and organize them all in a one inch binder. Use file tabs to organize your recipes by category (appetizers, sides, main, desserts, etc).

Daily Dinner Bins

Gather all your necessary ingredients for the week and separate them into dinner bins! Label each day of the week on the outside of each bin so that you won’t have to scramble around your pantry looking for those ingredients!

Menu Magnets

This is easy. Simply print out your family’s favorite meals on glossy magnetic paper, then organize your meals for the month on a magnetic white board! They even make white boards that stick to your fridge {magnetic of course}. Personally, I like this one that I found on Amazon for $15.95.

Freezer Inventory

  • Pull out everything from your freezer. Everything.
  • Write down what you’ve got in there {now is also a good time to throw out what’s old and you no longer need}
  • Organize the list you made into different food categories {breakfast, poultry, breads, meats, etc}
  • Give each category a typical size by which you’d retrieve them from the freezer {i.e. “1 pound” for ground beef since I separate them into 1 pound portions, or “4 pieces” for pork chops since that’s usually how I separate them into freezer bags}
  • Keep this list on your fridge so you’ll always know what you have in there!

Printable Menu Planner

Print out a menu planner to keep handy! Actually, I have a pretty printable in my Library {click here to get the password and sign up for my newsletter!}

Menu Planning Apps

  • AllRecipes Dinner Spinner {my favorite!}
    This app saves my life when I’m just too tired to think about what to make. The Dinner Spinner is free {the pro version is only $2.99} and you just input what type of dinner you wanna make, what type of main ingredient you plan on using, and how long it would take to make dinner, and the Dinner Spinner pulls up sooo many recipes for you!
  • Cozi Dinner Decider
    You know how you have those days when you just don’t know what to make? This app gives you five meals plus two alternates if you decide to not go with the ones they initially gave you. It’s free to download, and if you decide to continue with it, a subscription option is available.
  • Grocery IQ
    This app allows you to search, scan, and share your grocery list by scanning the barcodes of the items you plan to buy. You can organize your list by aisle to save time in the store, and you can even organize your list by several stores! The app also integrates with Coupons.com so that you’ll always find good deals.

How to Pack a School Lunch

I found a really cool printable here! I love how colorful and organized it is!

Monthly Meal Planning

Okay, if you’ve already planned your menu for the entire year, I’m sure you’ve got this down for the month. 😉 In fact, I have a free printable in the Library! Just sign up here to grab the password and to subscribe to A Mom In Training’s newsletter!

I actually wrote an ebook called The Busy Mom’s Cookbook: 20 Super Easy Recipes to Make You Look Like A Super Mom! It’s only $10 and you can check it out here.

School Lunch Station

I’m really digging the school lunch station that Trish and Bonnie created here. It’s so creative and flippin’ easy to do, that I’m already starting to plan out which area I can use to delegate as a station when Aria comes of age.

Freezer Meals

Find a ton of freezer meal ideas from my Pinterest board!

Pinterest Meal Planning

Take your meal planning the paperless route! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Organize your boards into different categories (chicken, stews, beef, breakfast, crockpot, etc)
  2. Search for recipes to pin (and it doesn’t have to be on Pinterest!)
  3. Create a board called “Menu Plan” then pin the recipes you like to that board.

Snack Station

Similar to the School Lunch Station ~ pick a designated shelf in the pantry filled with yummy snacks that the kids can easily access themselves so that they won’t have to ask you while you’re in the middle of folding your third load of laundry. 😉

Looking for more help on organizing your meal planning? Take our 3 Day Meal Planning Challenge absolutely free!

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AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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