1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Easy Meal Planning

7 Ways to Simplify Your Family's Meal Plans


Make meal planning as easy as one, two, eat! With a little prep, you'll save the most money on groceries and stop spending all of your free time standing over a hot stove.

Easy Meal Planning for the Week or the Month

Family making healthy breakfast together.
Klaus Vedfelt/Iconica/Getty Images
Easy meal planning begins with a strategy. Set aside a small block of time to plan your family's meals for the week or the entire month. Once you develop a meal-planning strategy that works for you, you'll be able to write a meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner within minutes.

Make a Grocery List of Your Staples

A picture of a grocery shopping list
Photo © Apryl Duncan
Your family has preferences. While you may try new recipes often, you also have those meals that serve as your family's staples. Save time and make meal planning easy when you create a ready-to-go grocery list based on your family's favorite meals. Instead of writing the same old shopping list every week, you'll always have the ingredients you need for your family's meals right at your fingertips.

Plan Your Meals from a Fully-Stocked Pantry

A picture of a kitchen pantry
Photo © evelynishere / Flickr
eeping a shopping list of your family's favorites also helps you save money when you're planning your family's meals. With a pre-made shopping list, you'll always have the key ingredients to all of your recipes with you. When the grocery stores offer rock bottom prices on the items you buy the most, you'll be able to stock your kitchen pantry at the lowest cost. You'll be able to plan your family's meals for the week straight from your pantry while knowing you didn't have to pay full price for all of the ingredients.

Easy Meal Planning Helps You Cook Quick Family Dinners

A picture of a family preparing to eat
Image Courtesy About.com
You're pulled in 1,000 different directions. After running errands all day, cleaning the house and shuttling your kids to school, soccer practice and dance class, it's easy to push meal planning to the bottom of your priority list. But cooking quick family dinners ensures your family will eat healthier and savor that quality time together around the family table. Crockpot recipes and one-pot meals are just a couple of strategies you should use to cook quick family dinners that will fill your family up without you having to slave away in the kitchen all day.

Prepare Your Weeknight Dinners on the Weekend

A picture of food in containers
Image Courtesy About.com
Knock out a few of your weeknight meals on the weekend. Spending some of your weekend time to prepare the meals your family will eat on weeknights takes a lot of meal planning stress off of you. There are a number of meals you can make on the weekend that will reheat well several days later. Deep dish pizza, sloppy joes and nachos are just a few examples of the weeknight dinners you can prepare on the weekend.

Make Lunch Planning Simple Too

A picture of a boy setting the table
Image Courtesy About.com
Peanut butter on bread is a crutch that's easy to lean on during your busiest days. With a little extra preparation, though, you can serve healthy lunches quickly. Get your kids involved in food prep, delegate some of the work and cook some of your food ahead of time to make lunchtime a cinch.

Easy Meal Planning for School Lunches

A picture of lunchboxes
Photo © edenpictures / Flickr
Hectic is just one word to describe your morning routine of getting the kids dressed, fed and out the door. The days of packing their lunchbox with food that's just going to get traded away at lunchtime are over when you take some extra time to plan out their school lunches. Make their school lunches healthy and fun while slowly making changes to their lunch menu so you can get them to try new foods. Dig into 101 ideas for kids' lunches to broaden their tastes and make their school lunches anything but ordinary.
  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Stay-at-Home Moms
  4. Raising Your Children
  5. Family Meals
  6. Easy Meal Planning

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.