Putting dinner on the table night after night can get to be an exhausting challenge. Being the chief weekly meal planner in your family is an ongoing job that requires attention and effort every night. It can sometimes feel relentless. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to make it easier? Keep reading about meal planning can make all the difference and we’ll give you some ideas and guidance about how to make your life easier.
Here’s a story about my friend Amy. Amy is the main weekly meal planner in her family… Does this sound like you?
Amy comes home from work and is already tired after a long day and long commute. Time to figure out what to put on the table. The pressure is on! Her mind is blank. She thinks she has some chicken in the fridge, so she hops on the computer to look for a recipe.
Amy’s search results come back and she starts reading. The first recipe looks interesting but too complicated. The second recipe will take too long. The third one looks really promising – but it calls for cilantro and she doesn’t have any. The next one looks good but calls for cheese and her husband recently went dairy-free. This is taking too long! The clock is ticking and she has to start cooking soon. The next recipe looks good! Bingo, she’ll make that. But she needs some veggies, too. She knows she has some broccoli in the fridge – but she already made that last night and the kids are going to say “broccoli again??” She didn’t plan well at the supermarket earlier this week.
She sighs. This is exhausting! Let’s just order pizza…again.
Here’s the good news for weekly meal planners:
Getting dinner on the table every night does not have to be an overwhelming challenge. Planning is the key. For every minute you spend planning you’ll save way more time down the road – trust us! (And there are even ways to make planning take almost no time!)
The benefits of meal planning
There are a host of benefits to planning your weeknight dinners:
When you have a plan, you don’t have to grapple with the “what’s for dinner tonight?” question each night as dinner approaches. A plan removes an enormous mental load so you can focus on getting dinner on the table without the thinking.
Bring back the family dinner
Meal planning makes it easier to put a home cooked meal on the table on a regular basis and that means you are far more likely to have a sit down family dinner. Read more about the benefits of family dinners.
Save time at dinnertime
With a plan, you don’t spend time figuring out what to do each night, you can get right to work, so dinner is on the table more quickly and you can be on to the next activity, whether it be taking kids to their activities, getting some work done around the house or – wait for it – relaxing and enjoying some downtime.
Save time shopping
When you have a plan, you can create a comprehensive shopping list that will cover your needs for the whole week. Think of the time you can save if you can go shopping only once a week! You can save even more time if you have access to a market with home delivery or curb side pick up. Then you can order your shopping list online and have it delivered or swoop through the parking lot and just pick it up.
When you plan ahead, you can create a weekly menu that covers a wide variety of food groups, includes lots of vegetables and is home cooked. A plan can help you avoid the last minute “let’s get take-out or fast food because I just can’t deal with it!”, which is good news for your health because home cooked food is almost always healthier than food prepared outside the home.
Save money by being organized
When you have a meal plan in advance, you can buy exactly what you need – no more and no less. That means you don’t end up with mushrooms that you bought in the supermarket thinking you might make beef stroganoff, but realized at home that you don’t have sour cream so can’t make it anyway. It also helps avoid impulse buys – you have a plan and a list and know exactly what you need and what you don’t need!
Save money by taking advantage of supermarket sales specials
This is the icing on the cake! When you are making a plan, you can build it around items that are on sale at your supermarket, and then in addition to the savings we already covered, you can save money by making sure that a large part of your grocery list is on sale.
So if you are now convinced that embracing weekly meal planning is worth it, but just don’t have the time or desire to pull it altogether, we can help. Give The Dinner Daily a try for two weeks free so you can experience all the benefits of not having to think about “what’s for dinner?”. CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED!