Meal planning is one of those things that seems simple enough (and truly can be) but actually implementing it can often be a struggle. There are a few tools + tricks that I use to help with the process and I'm passing them on to you so your home-chef-mom-life can be just a wee bit easier.
The first rule of thumb is to not attempt to do a full week at a time, starting out. Adding perfectionism to your meal planning can make you give it up for good. Often times if you just aim to have 3 meals planned for the week (and get the groceries in the house for those 3 meals!) your life will be so much easier. Too often, busy families are not all home at the same time and there are weeknight obligations that pull you away from a family meal, so aiming for 3 is a realistic goal.
Second rule of thumb is to not try to create 7 new recipes in a week. This is a sure fire way to give up on this whole process real quickly. always have some family favorites in the mix and throw in a new recipe each week, if you're up for it.
A tip that I find really beneficial is finding a time weekly to sit down and do your planning and if possible do it while you have a good appetite. That one factor can make this be an almost enjoyable activity rather than a dreaded task. Personally I do this on the weekend and actually look forward to it.
Having a hard time coming up with ideas each week? Try themes. For example, Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday, so you when you're searching for recipes, you have it narrowed down a bit.
Sources for dinner ideas are so plentiful these days. My favorite places to seek inspo are:
Food bloggers all over Instagram. (If you're new here, jump over to @jackandellapaper on Instagram as I share my weekly menus in hopes of inspiring some new dinner ideas for you.)
Pinterest. I create specific boards just for this purpose. (see my Mexican-inspired-eats Board here.)
Actual restaurant menus. While this is a little unconventional, it's a great way to change up your dinner routine. Google your favorite restaurants, pull up their menu and Google the title of the dish. More than likely you'll find plenty of similar recipes available.