Grocery budget suffering? Want to meal plan but can’t figure it out? Here’s the easiest way ever to meal plan.
It’s all over the internet and Pinterest… meal planning in order to save your grocery budget. But how do you do it the right way without having to feed your family things that they just don’t like?
Having two teenage boys around, we have a huge food budget when they are here. I’ve tried meal planning, but one of them is a seriously picky eater. Some things that I try to make to keep the grocery budget under our max he just refuses to eat. Planning a meal that doesn’t get eaten is a waste of money too.
If you are like me, you have tried everything you can think of. You’ve tried subscribing to different online sites for ideas. You look online to see what options there are. Maybe you have even tried a meal delivery subscription. Nothing has worked, has it?
The Easiest Way Ever to Meal Plan
Here is the one and only trick you have to remember to make sure that your meal planning takes off and keeps on track:
Feed your family what they like.
Forcing your family to eat things that they hate makes absolutely no one happy. They are disgusted and unimpressed. You feel depressed and upset because you worked hard on a dinner no one likes.
Stop the cycle of failure.
Family Meeting Time
Unless you want to do this the hard way and try to remember what everyone in your family likes, you are going to have to enlist some help getting started. Have everyone write down at least 5 meals that they like. It really doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as you get ideas for a starting point.
Once you have a starting point, write down all of the recipes that you know they like.
I’d love if you would download and use my Meal Plan Binder freebie for this.
Organize these by their protein source. I know. It seems odd. But trust me.
Here is where it gets kind of awesome.
If you keep a running inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry, it’s easy to see what you have on hand and what you can use to meal plan for the week. The reason that I organize my Meal Plan Recipe Binder by protein is simple: meat and protein are 99% of the time going to be the most expensive thing you purchase when you grocery shop.
Pantry staples like noodles or flour can be purchased relatively cheap. I hate having noodles but having to spend quadruple the cost of the noodles for the meat to accompany them It seems counterproductive.
So by organizing by protein, you can meal plan based on whatever meat is on sale that week and supplement with proteins that you already have.
Why You Need my Meal Planning Recipe Binder
We all have done it. Saving tons of recipes on Pinterest or to our Facebook walls. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to find the recipe you are looking for when you want to find it.
By having all of your recipes, even the ones you want to try, in one place, you will be able to meal plan quicker and easier. No more worrying about finding the recipe in the thousands you have pinned, your computer crashing, or any other inconvenient tech issues that may arise. Just grab your binder and your meal planning worksheet and get to it!
The joy of this is that when you do purchase meat on sale, you can normally find extra wiggle room in your budget to purchase a little extra. Therefore, you are not just purchasing what you need for the meal plan this week, but for the freezer inventory also!
I love having an array of meats to choose from. We are not the kind of people who really like to risk getting burnt out on one kind of meat. Okay, except in the summer. I could eat a grilled steak almost every night of the week when it’s cooked outside. *wink*
Because I stock up so often, I make sure to pack my meat properly. I have and love my Foodsaver. It helps keep freezer burn at bay on not just meats, but for storing produce from the garden too. Waste not, want not, and all that, you know.
Other Tips and Tricks
You can also keep within your grocery budget by making more at home and not purchasing as many convenience foods.
Try making a batch of my Homemade Brownie Mix with pantry staples. Or get started attempting to do more Freezer Cooking with some of these recipes.
PS. Don’t forget to grab my FREE Meal Plan Recipe Binder Printables to get started getting more organized with YOUR meal planning today!