Meal Planning Made Easy

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Planning your weekly meals ahead of time will not only help you to be more organised, but it will also save you money, kitchen and grocery time, and will help you avoid food spoilage and wastage in your fridge and pantry. I have been meal planning for years and can show you how planning meals can make your life simpler. 

Do you plan your meals each week, or are you considering starting to meal plan for you and your family? I like to plan what meals I will make ahead of time because I find that in doing this, it helps me to get more organised, to prepare my shopping list early and get my shopping done quickly with a completed list of items that I need for each meal I’m going to cook. Plus it stops me from buying unnecessary items at the grocery store that saves me even more time and money. I know that many mums might think that a meal plan is not worth the hassle, but I can honestly tell you that it takes me just 5-10 minutes to plan one week of meals, and it completely takes the burden out of standing in the kitchen every night thinking of what to cook. Meal planners are actually very simple to use. Here’s how I use my meal planner.

HOW TO USE THE MEAL PLANNER

Once you’ve used a meal planner, you won’t go back to unplanned dinners. They’re just too convenient and help you so much with being an organised mum, plus everyone in the family knows what will be for dinner, saving you that annoying question, ‘mum, what’s for dinner tonight?’ Here’s how I use my meal planner:

  • I’ve placed my meal planner in an A4 frame & use a whiteboard marker to write the meals onto the glass to plan dinners on it so that I can re-use it each week.
  • I create copies of all my meal plans and file them in a binder so that I can use some of my already-planned out meal plans in future weeks.
  • I place the meal planner in the kitchen so the whole family can see it.

My meal planners are available here, as an instant download – many colours available.  My Lunch and Dinner meal planner is also available here.

click here to purchase - blue

HOW TO PLAN MEALS

Planning meals is not a difficult task. It just takes a little bit of your time, and you can create incredible meals for your family every night without too much difficulty. When you meal plan, you make sure that you have every ingredient necessary to cook each night. If you’re making spaghetti, for example, you will never need to run to the shop to buy the pasta or even the parmesan cheese that you can’t live without.  It’s that simple. My kids also have a lot of after-school activities to attend, so I organise my menu around their activities so that I know when to start dinner each night. If you’re a busy working mum, try using a slow cooker.

  • Check out any current grocery catalogues you may have at home and plan your meals based on meat and vegetables with any specials in mind to save more money.
  • See what food you still have in the pantry or fridge that may need using up, create meals around these foods.
  • Consider cooking a double batch and have the dinner for two nights instead of one, or freeze half for a future lazy night off.
  • Gather inspiration from my meal plans I share.
  • Complete your weekly meal planner with dinners you will cook.
  • Get your grocery list together for the whole week and get stocked up.

  READ MORE: My Weekly Meal PlansThere's nothing like walking into a house filled with the delicious smell of dinner! I've put together a list of some of my favourite slow cooker recipes - I hope your family loves them as much as mine.

BENEFITS OF MEAL PLANNING

There are so many benefits of meal planning. Yes, it helps you be more of an organised housewife, mother and superwoman – but it also simply saves you time, leaving you with more spare time for yourself, and I definitely know how precious every minute to me is!  It also saves your money and helps you to stop wasting food, not to mention that it actually makes you cook healthier meals because you’re not tempted to order take away as a last minute resort. Here are more reasons to meal plan:

  • You can cook in bulk and make nights easier for yourself
  • Each family member can take turns and choose their favourite meal to be cooked to make things more fun
  • Helps to lower your frustration when it comes to deciding what to cook each night and running around for ingredients
  • You can reuse old meal plans and old shopping lists and already have weeks sorted, saving you more time and money
  • They make busy afternoons easier on everyone
  • You can get your kids to help you out and spend more time with them
  • If you’re late at work, the family can help by getting the ingredients ready for you or even start the cooking process for you if they’re old enough to help

MY WEEKLY MEAL PLANS

As of next week, my weekly meal plans will be back which I hope will make things easier for you when it comes to meal inspirations. What I would like to know is whether you follow a normal diet, or if you and your family follow other diets like the Keto or Paleo diet, or even whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan, because I would like to provide meal plans to help all of my Organised Housewife community! Let me know in the comments below and check out one of my past weekly meal plans below.

  READ MORE: Weekly Meal Plan #27

Planning your weekly meals ahead of time will not only help you to be more organised, but it will also save you money, kitchen and grocery shopping time, and will help you avoid food spoilage and wastage in your fridge and pantry.

WHAT DIET DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FOLLOW?

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21 comments

Ali February 4, 2019 - 6:28 AM

I have white board in my pantry cupboard. I sit down with coffee and iPad and search for recipes. Then plan for the week ahead. I make a shopping list. Doesn’t matter if you change your meals around on the white board because all the ingredients are in the cupboard or fridge. Saves heaps of time stressing over meals.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 4, 2019 - 12:26 PM

Love it!! That’s right, sometimes I may move things around depending if I’m feeling a little tired I might go for an easier dinner option 🙂

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Kathy Doull February 4, 2019 - 8:13 AM

I need to follow a low fat balanced diet for heart health
trying to adjust recipes by switching to low fat dairies, sauces etc But do need inspiration at times 🙂

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 4, 2019 - 12:27 PM

Hope you enjoy some of the recipes you find on the blog Kathy 🙂

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Rebecca Hawkins February 4, 2019 - 11:10 AM

Our family eats everything!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 4, 2019 - 12:27 PM

I love the meal plans you’ve shared in the past Rebecca, can’t wait to see them again 🙂

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Melissa February 4, 2019 - 11:57 AM

My family eats everything however I like to cook low calorie dinners to help lose/maintain my weight. Also easy and quick meals to prep after work or slow cooker meals would be great as i’m back at work and need to feed my toddler quickly. Thanks!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 4, 2019 - 12:28 PM

I love slow cooker meals, I don’t tend to make them much in the warmer months but nearly every second night over winter is a slower cooker dish, noms!!

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Sherelle Lock February 4, 2019 - 9:33 PM

I find planning lunches (weekday) and dinners fairly easy but struggle with lunches on the weekend. Any suggestions?

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Judith February 5, 2019 - 3:08 AM

I’m really not used to planning my meals for an entire week. And I often lack the inspiration for a varied lunch. As for what diet we follow, we eat largely kosher.

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Kate February 8, 2019 - 12:35 PM

Gluten free for us as I have coeliac disease. We use gluten things liked bread and pasta for the gluten eaters. And low FODMAP for my husband and baby. I need to get back into meal planning. Lost inspiration after number 2 has come along and the toddler always has meltdowns at dinner time!

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Nikki February 9, 2019 - 11:31 PM

Hi Katrina.
I have tried so many times to meal plan, but i can never stick to it, whats the trick?
I work in late afternoons so i like to have meals that are easy for my kids to do or not time consuming so when i get home, i can get it on the go quickly.
I buy the ingredients and then change my mind….its so frustrating, feel like i am making life hard for myself.
Would love to hear how you could help me make life a little eaaier at dinner time ?
Cheers Nikki

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Janine February 10, 2019 - 10:40 AM

Hi Katrina, we try to eat a wide range and lots of fresh fruit & veggies, and fewer carbs (pasta/white potato/rice etc.) only two to three times per week. I buy the best meat / fish we can afford. My issue is the fruit & veggies really don’t seem to stay fresh for long enough so meal planning or more so doing just one weekly shop really doesn’t seem to work. Any tips appreciated!

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Amanda February 16, 2019 - 12:43 PM

I find it funny that this post was so recent – I have thought about starting to meal plan and I thought first to search on your blog – bingo! Primarily we eat “normal” food, but we are on a tight budget. We try to eat healthy as it makes it easier to maintain past weight loss. Thanks heaps for the info and inspiration!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 18, 2019 - 1:37 PM

How’s that for timing! 🙂 Enjoy lovely I hope my past and future meal plans will provide some good ideas for you!

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KATRINA ANN DE FELICE March 5, 2019 - 10:01 AM

I am struggling with meal planning too. I love the idea but then its a blank. I even find shopping on line takes me more time than actually going out to buy the food, even though it would make life easier. I was given a code for a free “hello fresh” box. I didnt find the website easy to use and my first box is coming a week later than I thought. When I looked at the recipes they are sending me I thought “I can do this without half the expense”.
So seeing this email has made me think “I can do this” with some help for you Katrina – thank you in advance.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife March 5, 2019 - 1:49 PM

oh thats great Katrina, yes those food companies sound like a good idea but they sure can be expensive, you can definitely do it yourself for cheaper and I have loads of recipes and weekly meal plans to help you with that!! You’ve got this! 🙂

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Kerry April 30, 2019 - 7:14 AM

I’m vegan, and we have high carb diets in our house. Any recipes for that would be fab, especially if they involve the slow cooker or ActiFry!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 30, 2019 - 10:24 AM Reply
Sally February 4, 2021 - 10:22 AM

I try to do meal plans but am struggling a bit at the moment. My husband is a carnivore & loves meat, same as my 5 year old daughter. On the other hand I only eat a small amount of certain meat and the same for my 7 year old daughter who eats even less. So it is hard to cater for everyone, making sure we have variety, and that they are healthy, nutrient based meals. Without having to cook up a heap of different meals. I know meal planning works from experience but at the moment I struggle. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 5, 2021 - 9:11 AM

Oh that does sound tricky Sally! What I would do is sit down and write out a master list of meals. Try and think of all the meals that you know everyone likes and eats. Ask your family for suggestions too in case there is a meal or two that you haven’t thought of. Then whenever you try a new meal that everyone likes add it to your master list. That way you have a list to refer to for inspiration when you do each week’s meal plan. Best of luck with it xx

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