Last week I shared a super easy meal planning strategy that’s perfect for the non-planner. It involved minimal meal planning and allowed for maximum efficiency at the grocery store. That means you can plan less, shop quicker, and have more time for doing other things. If you missed that post you can check out My Super Easy Meal Planning here.
Here are five more tips to make this super easy meal planning strategy even easier.
Consider Seasonal Changes & Your Food Mood
The type of food you make will depend on the season, your cravings, and if you have specific dietary needs. The seasonal changes have a huge effect on the type of food we make in our house – especially here in New England where the season changes are so drastic. Temperatures go from 90 degrees hot and humid to below zero and everything in between.
The summers are all about light meals. We grill and eat tons of salads and fruit. I hardly ever cook soups in the summer months, it’s just too warm here; but when Fall rolls around our meals all about soups, stews, and warm, slow cooker meals. I always make it a point to have the ingredients in the house to whip these up. At the beginning of each season, take a few minutes to make a written or mental note of some of your favorite recipes.
Allocate the right amount of time
Are you home during the day and have time to prepare a meal? Or, do you need to prep a 10-minute slow cooker recipe in the morning that’s ready for your family when they’re ready to eat that afternoon? If you’re like my family, each of the kids have sports at different times, so meals that can be kept warm on the stove for long periods of time are best for our family. That way each of my kids can eat based on their own sports schedule – whether that be at 5:00 in the afternoon or 9:00 at night.
Grow & Freeze
Buying the meats that on sale and seasonal vegetables will help cut down on your grocery bill. Two of the best things we did to help cut down our grocery bill was plant a garden and we bought a chest freezer. I now have organic tomato sauce we make from our garden tomatoes, basil and parsley. I have hot peppers for chili, sweet peppers for fajitas, eggplant and zucchini for cutlets, and summer squash all winter long!
Make a master recipe book
About a year before my grandmother passed, she put together master recipe books for all 30 grandchildren in the family. This binder full of all of her favorite Italian recipes is one of my most treasured gifts. Since receiving it, I’ve added many more of my own and my Mom’s favorite recipes to the three-ring binder. It’s categorized by appetizers, salads, dinners, drinks, and desserts. Having one consolidated recipe book keeps all of your favorite recipes in one place and makes meal planning much easier.
Try a new recipe
This past January, I participated in the Whole30 with Miss Mustard Seed. It was life changing! I realized that I cannot tolerate wheat products and have had to explore new recipes. What it’s taught me is not only a new way to see food and eat, but a new way to cook.
I grew up in a meat, potatoes, vegetables kind of family. While I still cook much like that for many meals, I’m now open to cooking many vegetarian and rice-based meals. Following a new recipe once in a while can help you expand the way you cook.
These strategies have helped simplify meal planning my home.