meal planning hack

I’ve discovered that one of the keys to my sanity is meal planning.

I know there are a ton of ways to do it – but I wanted to share what has worked for me. As a working mom it has made a ton of difference in how much less hectic my evenings are (but I think this can benefit ANY family situation!).

I pulled together an excel spreadsheet. There are 4 tabs (week 1, week 2, etc.). Each tab has breakfast, lunch, dinner for the week. Every Sunday, I move to the next tab, update for any grocery items I do/do not have (for example, if strawberries were not available at the grocery store, then I change to another fruit for that week). We do our grocery runs twice a week – once on the weekend and once during the week (the weekday one is usually for produce).

It has made a TON of difference. Anyone that is at home know what we’re having for dinner so can contribute to getting things prepped/started.  When my almost 5 year old doesn’t like what we’re having, I say “well sorry that’s what’s on the menu for tonight, see?” And, most importantly, it helps ensure my kids and family are getting a healthy rotation of various fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. It also prevents the meal ruts I always get into of making the same few things over and over again.

It has been a lifesaver.  My husband actually came up with the 4-tab method when he saw me updating the same sheet every week.  Once set up, it doesn’t take more than 5-10 min each Sunday and really helps keep us organized on the weekdays!

Happy menu planning!