This morning I am meal planning- I usually do it on Fridays, but what the heck...i feel a little rebellious today. When you have a busy family, you absolutely have to do this. Here are a few tips:
1. Start with a printed grocery list- I use one that I made, typing in the items that we buy often but leave spaces under each category for new things. ...but you can make your own in Excel (you will see that i make spreadsheets for EVERYTHING!!)
2. Put the grocery list on the fridge or cabinet or wherever your family can locate it without asking.
3. Tell family to write things on the list as they need them...by Friday you should know 1 kid needs a binder for school, another needs hairspray, and 3 of them need saline solution. They can also add snacks or things they want that you will never buy anyway, but it makes them feel good if you give them the opportunity to say that they want the twinkies etc.
4. Then sit down with all your cookbooks, your computer for Pinterest recipes, or grannies recipe cards. Plan your meals for 2 weeks- taking into consideration that if you have 2 basketball games and a tennis match to attend in one evening, you can actually write Subway, or Taco Bell or whatever is on the way. Face it, you are not going to have time to whip up a beef wellington that night. It is ok to be realistic! I plan breakfasts and dinners.
5. When you have your meals planned, take your menu and recipes into your kitchen. Write down everything you do not have, making sure to check for spices etc. When that is complete, all you need to do is add necessities like dog food, cat little, deodorant etal. and you have a complete grocery list.
6. Then take your happy, organized self to the store. Shop in order of your store leaving produce and frozen for the end and ONLY buy what is on your list. If you buy ingredients for something not on your list you will be tempted to make it and then have extra stuff in your pantry or fridge. If you stick to this plan, you will be able to budget your meals, plan healthy meals, have a tidy fridge/pantry, and keep your sanity when you hear that dreaded "what's for dinner?" Never make different meals for kids!!! They eat what you eat or wait until breakfast. I promise, after a while the brussels spouts don't seem that bad!
This is a great time, money and stress saving device, but i'm just a mom, what do i know?