We all know that tidying up is magic, but did you know meal planning has the same life-changing magic? Does this scenario sound familiar?
It’s seven o’clock, you just ran in the door after picking up your oldest from practice. Your youngest tells you he’s so hungry he might eat his arm and he starts for the pantry.
You open your fridge to see what’s in there. Oh yeah, you bought some chicken at the grocery store this week. Better hurry up and use it before it goes bad. Then you open Pinterest on your smart phone and search “healthy quick chicken recipes” hoping that something totally delicious pops out at you.
Recipe #1: nope, you don’t have any lemons. Recipe #2: Why didn’t you buy parsley? Would that still taste good without the parsley? Oh, well. Moving on. Recipe #3: Spinach! Yes! You have spinach! Oh, no feta though.
You look at the clock. It’s been almost 10 minutes of searching. You hear, “Mooommmm I’m hungry!”
Forget it. I’ll use a different cheese in place of the feta. This has to work. You gather the ingredients and start the recipe. You soon realize the recipe author grossly misused the term “quick” and this dinner is going to take much longer than you anticipated. You’re half way through, though, there’s no turning back now.
Dinner is underwhelming. The “starving” son picks at it. Your oldest inhales it, but he eats whatever you put in front of him. Your daughter, the middle child, complains and calls it “gross.” Even though you agree, it’s not that great, you grit your teeth and say, “Eat your dinner,” while forcing a smile.
I’ve been there. Well, I don’t have three kids, and our dinner time isn’t usually that late, but I have been there. In our own specific realities, we’ve all been there at one point or time. This whole scenario changes with two simple, magical words: MEAL PLANNING.
Instead, you get home at seven o’clock and you know exactly what you’re having for dinner. You have all of your ingredients in the fridge and pantry and there is no frantic searching for food or recipes. You have dinner ready and on the table before eight o’clock. You saved yourself a whole lot of stress and chaos because you planned your meal.
Meal planning is the simple act of taking the time to plan your meals, create a grocery list, and go shopping for the ingredients needed to make the meals you planned. It really does change everything.
People who meal plan:
Tend to eat healthier.
Have less stress in their lives, and markedly more peaceful dinners.
Spend less time making meals.
Waste less food.
The problem is that the act of meal planning is simple, but not easy. Following through with meal planning consistently can actually be quite difficult. Maybe you do a great job one week, but the next week you’re busy and don’t get to it. Then you fall out of the habit for a while and end up eating out more than you’d like. You try to get back into it, but struggle to find a sustainable system. Sound familiar? You need a solution.
Meal Planning Solution #1
Use the Happy Healthy Mama Meal Planning Toolkit. This is a basic pen-and-paper approach, but I know a lot of people prefer to do their meal planning this way. Sometimes all you need is a basic template to get you in the habit. The toolkit includes a healthy pantry checklist (for those days when you need a quick, throw-together meal), a meal planning template, and a grocery list template. It’s everything you need to get started with meal planning! Just put in your email address in the box when you click on the following link and you’ll have instant access to the FREE download.Click Here to Get my FREE Meal Planning Toolkit
Meal Planning Solution #2
Use an online meal planning system. If you are an online kind of person, I highly recommend using Meal Garden! It’s an amazing system full of tools to help you with your meal planning. It has a database of hundreds and hundreds of recipes for you put into your custom meal plan with a click of a button.
It’s easy to search recipes however you want: vegan, gluten-free, family friends, quick, chicken, Paleo, etc. You can even import any recipe you want that you may have found on the web or from your cookbook collection and it will put it in your online collection for the future and even automatically include its ingredients in your grocery list.
Did I mention it automatically produces a grocery list for you?! You can print it up or access it directly from your phone. Another great feature is that Meal Garden can give you the nutritional mark up for any recipe you are using. It’s great for anyone who is counting calories or needs to keep track of specific intake of certain things like carbs or sugar.
I am a contributor to the Meal Garden Healthy Eating Bundle, which is only available through this month. With the Healthy Eating Bundle, you get a one-year subscription to the Meal Garden website (which includes everything I described above and more!) plus an entire bundle of already-created meal plans according to dietary need and dozens of articles to help you on your healthy eating journey. All of this is just $19.95 Canadian. (Usually just a one-year subscription to Meal Garden is more than twice that, so this is an outstanding deal!) You can click here to get started with Meal Garden.
Meal Planning Solution #3
All right. Let’s just say you have the best intentions when it comes to meal planning, but your execution just isn’t there. Maybe you’ve tried a myriad of systems, but taking the time to plan your meals just isn’t happening. If you’d rather have someone give you an already completed meal plan, with the grocery list, then you need my new product that’s coming out at the end of this month. Coming soon:
The Step-by-Step Plan for Getting Healthy, Homemade Dinner on the Table, Fast.
Yes! It’s finally happening! If making homemade dinners is your nemesis, this product is for you. If you just want to spend less time meal planning, this product is for you. If you are so busy you feel like healthy, homemade dinners aren’t possible, this product is for you.
So what is it, exactly? It’s an eBook that has six weeks of meal plans and grocery lists done for you. But it’s more than just that. It also includes a step-by-step system for doing a small amount of meal prep ahead of time so that your meals are easy to make at dinner time. It eliminates so much stress.
I break the recipes down for you and show you exactly what you need to do ahead of time so that once it’s crunch time, getting a healthy meal on the table is easy.Yes, I said easy! I’ve been using this system for over a year now and let me tell you, it is a system that works. I’m only sorry that it’s taking me so long to put it into a pretty package for you. Your wait is almost over!
If you want to be notified when Conquer Dinner is ready, the best way is to get on my email list. I only send one email a week typically and it’s filled with healthy living tips and inspiration. You can sign up right here and I’ll make sure you’re the first the know when Conquer Dinner goes on sale.
One of these options will work for you, I just know it. If you are committed to making healthy eating a reality for your family, choose one of these meal planning solutions to get started!