· People who are successful at meal planning, do so because they have a set day and time to do the planning. So first step is to set a day and time that will work for you to do your meal planning. Don’t think you have time? How long do you wait in line for your kids at car pool?
· Do what you are good at – if you have a small list of meals that your family likes and enjoys, include them in your plan first, then try to stretch your capabilities. Look for recipes from friends that you and your family liked and try those first – after all they were well greeted when your friend made them. Next look to the cookbooks, internet cooking sites and brand label websites for recipes.
· Create a “month” page and plot in your family favorites; then plot in recipes from friends; then add sales recipes and cooking expert recipes. When you plan your month, look at things going on in your household on a regular basis – such as kid’s practices and games, ballet lessons, etc. If you all get home late on Wed’s don’t plan on making a pot roast that will take hours – plan on sloppy Joes or pizza! Post your “month” menu on your frig or carry in your day planner for easy reference. Look at your month during your scheduled day/time and see if you want to add or change anything. Nothing is written in stone – your plan needs to be flexible to fit with your lifestyle and your family.
· Delegate – give your spouse and kids a night to choose and cook a full meal. If you all like it – add it to your meal list for a regular family meal. No reason you are in this alone! And you’ll have one planned night off from cooking.
· Look at the weekly grocery flyer and look for sales; plan a meal around those items before you go shopping. Look at your pantry and frig before you go shopping too to see what you already have and what you need to fill in. If the sale items aren’t on your month menu, freeze them for the next month!
· Once you know what you are cooking, and once you know the ingredients, visit coupon sites to download brand name coupons for the items you will need – save money on the items you will purchase anyway because now you know what you will need for the month!