It's the perfect time of the year to implement routines to make your life easier. In my household, if menu planning is done on the weekend and the kitchen is stocked for the week, my life runs smoother. It's not always an easy task, but if you follow some of these tips, it can actually be something you look forward to and will (hopefully) become a habit.
Beginning Tuesday, September 4th, we're starting a challenge to help you get started. The goal is to plan at least 4 meals a week (however, starting small and aiming for a couple per week is a start!). I will be posting recipe ideas each week via Instagram + Facebook and if you have some good family favorites...please share them in the comments! If you post anything yourself, use #jepmealplanning so others can find inspo.
I will also be adding my weekly meal ideas to a new Pinterest board 'September 2018 Menu Planning Challenge', however I have some other good recipe boards on there as well.
My steps to easy (and almost fun) menu planning:
1) I set aside some time each week (for me, it's typically on the weekend) to jot down recipe ideas. I wouldn't recommend aiming for several new recipes per week...maybe one or two new ones added into your regular rotation of meals. Start on Pinterest or any other online recipe source for recipes &/or inspiration. The reason I'm drawn to Pinterest is that it starts to present you with pins that are similar in nature to what you've pinned so it knows what you like and helps find you more recipes that are in line with your tastes.
I have some ideas for other sources of inspiration in my Meal Planning 101 post.
Also, try to do this while you're hungry...it's a much more pleasant task.
2) Grocery shop...with a list! Sounds elementary, but how many times have you gone without one? You'll be back to the store countless times to get all that you'll need that week. While menu planning create the list of what you'll be needing...and of course check your kitchen for all the things you didn't realize you already have! It's sometimes a good idea to actually start your menu planning in your kitchen to utilize what you have on hand. Search recipes with those ingredients.
I like to hang my grocery list up in the kitchen so that throughout the week, everyone can jot down things that we run out of or any special requests.
3) Utilize that crockpot/slow cooker! Once you get in the menu planning groove, you'll start looking at your calendar to see what nights a slow cooker recipe would be really helpful. When practices and late meetings are scheduled, you'll have a meal waiting for you.
Menu planning needs no special tools, but if you like a pretty list, now is the time to grab one...they are all on sale for the the start of the challenge! You can go for the notepad version or an immediate download version.