Meal planning and grocery shopping are a weekly part of existing, am I right? I feel like there are definitely ways to make this chore a little less work. There are so many options to simplify meal planning and also an endless supply of menu templates created by some super organized meal preppers. I really do enjoy cooking so I am constantly seeking out new recipes to try. That makes it a little harder for me to do a month of meal planning ahead of time or use a set meal plan. However, I do know a lot of mamas who have busy lives and love the idea of an easy, pre-done meal plan. I have found some great ones to share.
It all started with a text from a friend last week. She wanted to know if I had an easy way to meal plan. It was kinda in my head that I needed to create this post cause inquiring minds want to know, right? Then today, I saw a post from Six Sisters Stuff and they actually have meal plans that they sell. That got me to thinking that I needed to do this post. So here I am, creating this post for you to quickly navigate some ways to take the pressure off of meal planning and lighten your workload cause aren’t we all busy enough?
When and how to meal plan:
I tend to do my meal planning/shopping/food prep on Sundays. Pick a day and get your meal plan together. Use an app or on-line service for easy recipes and grocery lists. Read on for ideas on how to make meal planning easier. Custom choose the plan that works for your life.
First, I have to share this awesome little cheat sheet that I found over at Foodie Zoolee. If you are planning your own meals, knowing what produce is in season is a huge help in figuring out what to cook.
Make Your Own Meal Plan:
You can take some of the wonder of, “what should I make for dinner?” out of the equation by using this cheat sheet for ideas of what to cook. By sticking to a semi-theme, it allows you to be a bit creative with having a bit of structure. It also helps you not overthink what type of meal you should cook.
Meal Planning Sites:
Six Sisters Menu Plan – You can pay monthly and pick your plan. Then they send you a meal plan and grocery list every Friday. I am seriously impressed by this service. I like that they offer Gluten free, healthy, standard and smaller menu options.
Gathered Table – Customized weekly meal plans, grocery lists, and optional grocery delivery. Monthly plans start at $7.
emeals – Weekly recipes, shopping list and peace of mind is the motto of this site. Plans are as low as $5 a month and you can do a 14-day trial for free. They also offer a variety of meal types to fit specific diet requirements.
Cooking Light Diet – This one caught my eye in a recent fitness magazine that I received. The recipes look fresh and delicious. Plus, they are healthy! Meal plans start as low as $1.52 a week.
Meal Planning Apps:
I admit I have not tried these apps but they come highly recommended. I am a pen and paper kinda girl when it comes to making my grocery list and meal plan but in this high-tech world, I might need to explore other resources. The apps for meal planning are in abundance so you’d really want to find what works for you. I even saw some geared specifically towards Paleo and slow cooker recipes.
Any List (free) – Allows you to create and share a grocery list and organize your recipes.
Meal Board ($3.99) – Combines recipe management, meal planning, groceries and pantry management into a single app.
Big Oven (free) – Recipe organizer, grocery list and menu app for home cooks.
Pepper Plate (free) – Create menus, meal plan, share recipes and make shopping lists.
Meal Delivery Services:
Meal delivery services are awesome if you want to skip the shopping. I have used Blue Apron and it was a pretty convenient program. Everything comes in premeasured packaging with a simple to follow recipe. You have some menu options when you sign up. For me, I enjoy the actual process of finding new recipes plus these options do cost a bit more. I know people who love the convenience of having the food and recipes delivered to their front door and how easy the recipes are to follow. The food is typically seasonal and it was definitely fresh.
The No Plan Meal Plan over at A Modern Common Place Book – She offers 20 weeks of meal plans which look pretty tasty and easy to prepare.
Cool Mom Eats – shares a series of pre-set weekly meal plans.
Freezer Meal Menus:
If you have some prep time, freezer meals are so awesome. You basically have an assembly line and before you know it, you’ve got a bunch of pre-made meals waiting in your freezer for the next busy night when you just don’t have time to cook.
New Leaf Wellness has 17 meal plans and menus.
Thirty Handmade Days rounded up 19 delicious chicken crockpot freezer meals.
Landeelu shares over 20 make ahead freezer meals.
Eating on a Dime shares 10 crockpot freezer meals that take less than an hour to prepare.
I could seriously go in so many directions regarding meal planning. The options are limitless and there are a million resources and meal plans to choose from. You can choose casseroles, 21 Day Fix, Paleo, Gluten Free, vegetarian, chicken — seriously, there are so many options. Hopefully, I have given you a few great resources and options without overloading you 🙂 This is definitely an area that I will revisit in later posts.
How do you meal plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above or even better, your own method of meal planning.