January is my meal planning month! I’m focusing on getting things in shape within my kitchen and I’ve been loving the routine I’m getting back into for meal planning.
So when I got this question from a listener, I knew it was the perfect month to address it (and a great reminder to myself)!
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Keeping meal time simple!
Here’s what Rachel said she needs the most help in when it comes to meal planning:
1) Recipes/thinking it has to be fancy. I typically forget there’s nothing wrong with marinating chicken breast and pairing it with a veggie and other side or two.
2) Uninterrupted planning time (I think this just needs to become a nap time routine for me tho)
My advice: Keep meals SIMPLE!
There’s nothing wrong with variety, but remember to keep it simple. I am all for finding new and tasty recipes for my family and I often like to find new things to cook. But this doesn’t mean the recipes need to be fancy or complicated!
Our meals in this season of lots of little kids need to be 20-30 minutes tops. Most of our meals are one-pot meals with the veggies hidden inside. Or we do frozen peas or broccoli with cheese as a side. I’m going to start sharing our weekly meal plan via my email newsletter in January, so make sure you get signed up. You can follow along here.
Planning time doesn’t have to be hard! I think too often we think that this meal planning time needs to be an hour or two of uninterrupted time. I’ll tend to do it while I’m prepping dinner. In between boiling water, cooking chicken, etc. I’ll pull out a couple cookbooks and have my laptop open and slowly pick one meal at a time.
Or I’ll just get my notebook and cookbooks out as a good reminder that I need to get it done. As I pick a meal, I write out the shopping list right then and there and CHECK any items I’m not sure if I have or not.
How I do all my meal planning now:
I used to do all my meal planning by hand and still do sometimes when I’m feeling lazy. But now I do almost all of my meal planning with an online system called Build a Menu. In May I will have been using BAM for 4 years! It really has made an incredible impact on my meal planning.
I do almost all of my meal plans in just 5-15 minutes because the system makes it so easy. You can input your own recipes and/or pull from their bank of hundreds of recipes (which get updated weekly)! The other amazing feature is that it tracks the estimated price of each meal so you can build your menu and see the price of your shopping trip in real time. It’s an amazing tool for sticking to a budget!
Coincidentally, Build a Menu is actually on super sale right now! It’s the lowest price I’ve ever seen on it. It’s just $24.99 for a YEAR subscription right now which breaks down to just $2.08 a month. It saves me a lot more than that in time and money each month!
You can sign up for Build a Menu here through my affiliate link for just $24.99 through January 15th (just use coupon code BAM24.99 at check out when you select the premium plan (normally $59!!!)! Or you can come see a video of how I use Build a Menu for all my meal planning here.