In honor of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle on sale from April 23- April 28, I'm taking some days this week to post for you some of my favorite homemaking tips. I'm also going to let you know about some of the great books, ecourses, and audios that you can find in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. And I'll give you a chance to win your own Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!
In today's post, I'm looking at meal planning. Meal planning has never been particularly easy for me. But I have learned much and improved much in almost twenty years of marriage. So I'll gladly share some of the things that have made meal planning easier for me.
1. Meal planning saves money. This one sounds obvious, but so many times we choose not to plan meals even though we know this is true. When we have a plan, we aren't as likely to stop for fast food. We aren't as likely to go to the store with no list and buy everything we see. When we have a plan, we don't spend as much at the store.
In our early married years eating out was the common practice. Most of the time it's because I didn't have a plan. And when there isn't a plan and everyone's hungry, you are going to get something to eat somewhere. And it's going to cost you money.
2. Meal planning helps you to feed your family healthy food. This is another one that should be obvious but is often overlooked. When I have planned my meals for the week, I will buy things at the store that fit those meals. I'm much less likely to buy junk foods and convenience foods because they aren't in my plan. When I've planned out my meals, I can make sure that the meals I'm planning are healthy and nutritious.
3. There are different ways to meal plan, and you can choose what fits your family. I have a friend who plans the whole month worth of meals at a time. She has the meals written in on a white board calendar, and they are pretty much written in stone. This doesn't work for me. If I have a meal planned, and we can't do it that night for some reason, I have some OCD children who will not be comfortable with the change.
We have a flexible schedule, and we need a flexible plan. Instead of a calendar, I have my weekly meals in a list. That way when it turns out that we are going to be gone all day Friday, I can choose a crockpot meal and pop it in that morning, so it will be ready by evening. I choose a variety for the week- crockpot, ground beef, chicken, pasta- and then pick the easiest one to make that day.
4.It is okay to have a "meal rotation." I have about fifteen to twenty meals I feel like I can cook well. I reuse those meals. I rotate through them each month. Some of them are particularly popular, and I might use those every week. Some of them are less liked, and I might only use them once a month.
The book Simplified Dinners that is in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is one that really helped me with this idea. The author shows how you can have one "base meal" that you change up in many different ways. This makes meal planning simple because you are using the same meal in different ways. I reviewed the book last year and learned quite a bit!
5. Have one location to store your recipes. I learned this one the hard way. Over the years I picked up recipes I could make well. But they were all spread out- some in one cookbook, some in another. Now I've consolidated things.
I mark recipes wherever I find them- pinning them on Pinterest or saving the page as a bookmark. But once I have a recipe that I love and we eat, I print it out and put it in a binder. I also have my Simplified Dinners pages there. I keep the pages in page protectors so that I can spread my binder out and not worry about spills while I'm cooking.
The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has some great books to help in meal planning.
Simplified Dinners is a great one that helps you simplify your meal planning, spending less time planning but still serving healthy, nutritious meals.
The Happy Mom, Healthy Family Meal Planning Workshop and Cookbook is one that I am loving. It's an eCourse with a large cookbook of recipes that are simple and healthy.
Another one I'm finding a great resource is The Healthy Lunch Box: Sandwich Free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch. This eBook is packed with information and includes tips for an allergen lunch box- which is nice for me because some of us eat gluten free!
These and the other great resources you can see below are in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
Tomorrow I'll share some tips for frugal living. Stop by to read and leave some of your favorite homemaking tips in the comments!
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