Ahhh… the question that strikes dread in every parent’s mind. We lead busy lives, but with planning our meals don’t have to end up in the fast food drive thru. Meal planning isn’t difficult… I should know, I wrote the book on it. My simple book on meal planning: “Mom, What’s For Dinner?” has many helpful tips and ideas, and a pull out menu planning worksheet with grocery list.

Meal planning is simply a system and, once you have a few weeks accomplished, we can rotate those meals through for the coming week with minor adjustments. But let’s start with some basic principles:

  1. Write down a list of family favorite meals: it is always gratifying to hear “I love this!” when serving the meal.
  2. Get family input.
  3. Gather recipes from family, friends, neighbors, the Internet or television.
  4. Grab the calendar which will determine which of our meals need to be grab and go, or waiting for us in the Crock Pot/Instant Pot.
  5. Make a worksheet (my book includes a colorful pullout worksheet for meal planning)
  • Date the worksheet and label it Week 1.
  • Mark which nights will be “eat out” or Grab-n-Go.
  • Fill in the dinner entrees; add in the veggies and side dishes.
  • Fill in lunch meals next, utilizing leftovers or marking which days to buy lunch.
  • Fill in breakfast, so that these items are on our grocery list, too.
  • Mark any advance preparation things like thawing meat or night-before prep.
  • Complete the grocery list. (My meal planning worksheet has a large grocery list on the back that includes many of the basics many of us tend to buy all the time.)

Please visit my new blog for more articles on wellness and to purchase a copy of my book. The profits are donated to Feed My Starving Children.