It really is possible to make menu planning easy, even if it’s a task you’ve never enjoyed. Here are my best tips and recommended resources to help. :)
Tips and Tools to Make Menu Planning EASY
Let’s just dive right in, shall we? Here are some of the tips I’ve found that are really helpful for simple menu planning. After I share these, then I will present you with some really great tools. :)
When it comes to figuring out food for your family…
1. Decide to have a good attitude about menu planning.
If you’ve always hated figuring out what to feed your family every day, keeping a good attitude about it can be tough. Even if you don’t mind or even actually enjoy menu planning, the daily grind of it can sometimes get old and tiresome. But the truth is that we all need to eat every day; therefore we do need some sort of plan so that we don’t become stressed out over food.
It’s possible you hate menu planning because you don’t plan your menus. (Eh?) What I mean is, if you don’t decide on a simple meal plan before it is mealtime, you’ll find yourself trying to figure out food for your family at the point in which they are all hungry, you are too hungry to think of good ideas, and you’re trying to make plans AND make food in the middle of ALL THE HUNGER.
This is no fun. It does not work. And it gives our brains the message that meal planning is hard and awful.
Take a deep breath. Pray. Choose joy over stress and angst. Menu planning can become easier. Learn what works for you (lots of ideas below), and decide to believe the truth that YOU CAN DO THIS.
2. Recognize that there are many ways to plan – so figure out what works for you!
Some people make a menu plan for an entire month. Some for each weeknight. Some for every single meal and snack of the day. Some subscribe to a menu planning subscription. Some make a plan each morning to carry out through the day. Some write down all the specifics on meal planners. Some make plans on a marker board. Some don’t write anything down at all.
These are only some of the methods and options – which proves that there are many ways to plan and that no one way fits the needs and preferences of every person or family.
If I was a once-a-month menu planner (which I am not, but if I was), and I told you “you should do it just like I do it!!” and then you tried it and it didn’t work for you, you might decide that menu planning isn’t for you. But the truth is that while once-a-month menu planning (and all the other methods) works for some, it doesn’t work for everyone. Menu planning is definitely not a one-size-fits-all thing. Toy with ideas, use resources that are available – and there are many! – and find a method that works for you.
3. Keep it simple.
Unless you really love gourmet cooking and creating elaborate meal plans, there is no reason to make menu planning and cooking for a family more difficult than it needs to be.
Discover simple recipes that you know your family will enjoy and that will not take long to prepare. Keep them in your back pocket (literally, if it helps; see below for details!). Jot down meal choices in a notebook, in your daily planner or calendar, or on pretty printable menu planning pages to keep on your fridge.
Think about and decide on your main dish, then consider simple fruit and veggie side dishes to round out your meal with nourishment.
We’ve all gotta eat. But we do not all gotta spend hours every day to make this happen!
Now I’m going to show you some wonderful tools that can make menu planning much easier.
Tools to Make Menu Planning Easier
We’re going to look at some tools that:
- Show you how to budget when grocery shopping
- Provide kid-friendly menu and snack planning ideas
- Give you hundreds of recipes that are both easy and healthy
- Walk you through how to get started with menu planning
- Offer printables and planners to make the job easier
- Teach you about basic nutrition, weight loss options, and special dietary needs
- Help you get organized, actually, easily :)
I have somewhere around 60 resources to tell you about, but first, take a look at one of my new favorite menu planning tools!
The Easiest Recipes, in a Flipbook!
A few weeks ago, I took the recipes from my High Five Recipes eCookbook (recipes that all call for only 5 or fewer real-food ingredients!) and I turned them into a super handy Recipe FlipBook. Man, I am loving this – and this is what I was referring to when I said, “Keep simple recipes in your back pocket!”
I formatted each recipe to fit onto a color-coded 4×6 card – then I sent them all to Walgreens to be printed. Just a few dollars later, I had all 86 recipes printed onto cards. I punched a hole through them, put a ring in the corner to hold them together, and tada! A High Five Recipes Flipbook!
This little tool is really handy (and fun!) because I can just grab it and start flipping through it for easy meal or snack ideas. Each section is color-coded to make it easier to go directly to the section I need: Breakfast Ideas, Main Dish Ideas, or Snacks and Treats Ideas.
The cards make it easy to see at a quick glance which few ingredients I’d need if I chose that recipe. Annnnnd since all of the recipes call for just 5 or fewer basic ingredients, I likely have most of the ingredients on hand and I know that the recipes will all go together quickly too!
I just added this new resource to my shop, so be sure to check it out!
And look what else!
We just added our brand new 52-Week Simple Meals Planning Packets Collection 2!
Sometimes you just need someone to make the plan and tell you what to get at the grocery store, you know? We’ve been offering our Simple Meals Subscriptions here for several years to help with this – and they are awesome and well-loved! This collection includes 52-weeks worth of these Simple Meals planning packets – categorized in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall sections to make your job even easier. They tell you what to make, what to buy at the store, and how to make the food in the easiest ways possible.
If you prefer the entire collection of 52-weeks worth of menu plans, you can grab those here!