Meal planning can help make the busy summer months a little less chaotic. It eliminates some of the stress that comes with a 6 p.m. home arrival and no dinner plans. Here are some basics of meal planning to get you on your way to an enjoyable, more efficient dinner prep experience.
Pick a Planning Day
Get your favorite cookbooks and blogs ready. Choose a variety of recipes that include foods your family loves, and always leave a day for takeout, leftovers or pizza.
Shop and Prep
Try to do as much of the shopping for your week in advance. Additionally, if you have some extra time on the weekend, prep your ingredients, like chopping veggies. Make sure you take a peek at your pantry, fridge and freezer to ensure you have the essentials when creating your list.
Keep it Simple
Weeknight meal planning is not the time to channel your inner Julia Child. For weeknight meals, choose recipes that involve fewer and similar ingredients. Try to keep one ready to heat frozen meal in your freezer for when the day just doesn’t work out as planned.
Use Slow Cookers and Instant Pots
These are your new best friends. If you’re a family that has kids in late afternoon/early evening activities or you tend to work late, do yourself a favor and buy an Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Use a Menu Board
We highly recommend using a menu board. Putting it on display in your kitchen reminds you first thing in the morning and helps you determine timing and prep work, as well as any additional groceries you need to grab.