Meal Planning in 5 Simple Steps

    Stay at home parents have one major thing in common. We all have to eat. Sometimes making meals that everyone in our family likes is a pain. Other times it is simple and easy. That is the problem.

Here are five easy things that you can do to track what your family eats and how you can make mealtime at your house easier and with less headache.

Food Journal

Creating a food journal is one of the easiest things that you can do. You do not need any fancy software, or any special notebooks. You can create a food journal out of the most basic spiral bound notebook or you can create it out of the fanciest leather bound journal that you have.

I have mine inside a Traveler’s notebook. That way all of my journals are in one place. That will be a whole article all in itself.

  1. Track what your family eats. This is the simplest function of any Food Journal. You can input every meal into a calendar form. You can list what they eat for breakfast lunch and dinner. This allows you to track what they like and what they do not. If you make a meal and do not have any leftovers make a note of it. If you make a meal and you have a ton of leftovers you make a note of that too.
  2. Meal planning. Tracking what your family is eating can allow you to plan into the future what you can make. Usually families get into eating habits. Eating from the same categories on the same nights every week. Tracking what your family likes and when they like to eat it is a good way to make a happy family.

Recipes. This is a good thing to do even if you are not making a food journal. Keeping a list of recipes that your family like to eat is good practice. You can learn to keep to keep the recipes they like to eat handy.

Handing down family recipes is a great keepsake. Recipes can be handed down by word of mouth through books or through teaching.

I prefer to keep all of this information inside my food journal. I write down the recipes that my family likes and the ones that are healthy for them to eat. That way one day when my children are old enough I will hand it all down to them for use with their families.

This is also a great way to get your writing skills involved. You can easily write your own cookbook separating recipes out for times of the year, holidays, and health concerns. In this day and age you could even sell your ebook and make some money out of it. This also gives all of your family members access to it through their smartphones. If you do not want to sell your book, you can always keep a pdf copy and hand it out that way. Stored electronically you don’t have to worry about age and condition of the book.

Saving Money. Saving money is always a great thing to do. Next to making money cutting costs is the best way to improve your life.

Planning your meals out in advance can allow you to take advantage of sales and seasonal purchases. This means the same meals that you might make anyway would cost you just a fraction of what you would normally spend on them.

Your food journal can also help with this. Knowing what meals that your family will eat you can save money by planning meals that might have similar ingredients. In the past I have made a meal out of pinto beans and cornbread only to use the leftover pinto beans the next night in a pot of homemade chili. There are numerous ways to do this with a myriad of ingredients. You are only limited to your imagination.

Planning meals in advance has another great advantage. Planning in advance allows you to plan meals around your activities. Instead of stopping and buying fast food, you can plan to make a meal in advance and already have it ready.

Eat Healthier. Providing your family with simple high quality meals at home is much healthier than buying food out of a restaurant. Not to mention it is cheaper.

Diets and other family health concerns are always a factor in meal planning. Planning your meals out in advance is a great way to plan in for your family’s specific health concerns.

Eating healthier does not mean you cannot eat what you want. In most cases it is just a matter of eating what you want in the proper portions and not eating those portions daily. Variety is the spice of life. Varey what you fix your family that way they don’t get tired of eating the same meals each and every week.  

Keep your side dishes to a minimum. Most meals you can make only get complicated if you let them. When I am planning a meal I always like to keep any side dishes that I am making to two ingredients or less.

This allows your main dish to be the focus of your meal. It also allows your side dishes to not take that long to make. I use this time to focus on my family eating vegetables. I try to make at least one side dish a meal a vegetable. My family is not always on board with this but, they end up eating it anyway.

The great thing about planning your side dishes and keeping them simple is your ability to plan the same ingredients. All of these are the secrets to keeping your family fed and happy.

Here is the basic information. You decide the outcome!

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