An Easy, Quick Guide to Meal Planning

how to meal plan

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I may only have one child, but I know what it’s like to feel like you’re too busy to cook a healthy meal for your family. The past few months I don’t really know what we ate, but we all lived, so I guess we did OK.

But husband and I both feel the need to eat a little healthier, and I both want and need to be doing more of the cooking than I have been lately. And the only way I really know how to do all this at once is to plan our meals.

I’ve never really done any formal meal planning. In fact, our “meal planning” for this week consisted of husband and I sitting in bed last night and me going, “OK, let’s do this on Tuesday and this on Wednesday…” while writing a grocery list.

So when I heard about Crystal of Crystal & Co. releasing her new ebook all about meal planning, I knew I wanted to check it out. She was kind enough to send me a review copy of How to Meal Plan (that one’s an affiliate link, so you know).

How to Plan and Why

This is a great guide to the basics of what it takes to plan your meals from week to week and how to actually go about doing it.
how to meal plan
I love her advice that you should sit and think about what really makes a meal or a recipe work for your family and have that criteria set out before you start looking for recipes or thinking about what to eat.

For some families the crock pot is king, while others might not want to use a lot of processed foods (not that those two are mutually exclusive, I’m just saying we all have different goals and needs). Knowing that going in to your recipe hunting will help you find things that are more likely to bring success and happiness more quickly.

How much time do you have to cook each day? How many people do you need to cook for? What are your family’s favorites, and what is it harder to get people to eat? Does anyone in the family have special dietary needs that should be accommodated? All of these are important things to think about as you start meal planning.

Crystal offers tips for finding the recipes that will go into your rotation, making your grocery list and shopping and displaying your menu so your family (and you) can see it. There are lots of links to different printables you might want to try for your grocery list and menu, as well as places to go to look for recipes.

The book also includes 14 recipes to get you started building a menu rotation. They’re heavy on the crock pot (which makes sense coming from a mom of five!), at some times kind of unbelievably so (there’s a recipe for cooking frozen ravioli in the crock pot with jarred sauce and cheese melted on top, which takes something that would take 10 minutes to cook on the stove and makes it take three hours), but there are some good basics here if you have no idea where to start at all.

This book helps make the process of going from “I don’t know, what do you want to eat this week?” to having a solid plan a little bit easier, especially if you’ve never done any kind of meal planning before (if you have, you probably know most of these tips already).

A Special Offer for You

If you want to check out How to Meal Plan for yourself, Crystal is running an introductory special in which you can get the ebook now through the end of November for $4.99 instead of $5.99. Just enter the code “launch” when you check out.

You can learn more about the book on Crystal’s meal planning book website, and she’s also started a Facebook community where people can share recipes, offer advice and more.

Are you a meal planner? I’d love to hear what you do.

Thanks for visiting, commenting and sharing!

Disclosure: So you know, if it wasn’t clear above, Crystal gave me a copy of the book to review. Opinions are my own. I do not own a crock pot.

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah- I am so happy you found my ebook to contain helpful information. Having recipes on your meal plan that meet your criteria really is a key factor is meal planning success. If you fill a meal plan up with dreadful recipes that require lots of babysitting and prepping you likely are not going to carry forward each week unless those are the types of recipes you enjoy making.

    I do love that crockpot. And so many recipes can be adapted to go either way. So if someone is not a crockpot fan, just pop it in the oven and vise versa. For me, it is an appliance that brings great convenience and flexibility and it does not heat my house in the Texas summer. To be able to toss in a bag of frozen ravioli and pour a jar of sauce over it (you can use homemade too) and walk away and come back from running errands and homeschooling kids and dinner is literally done and ready to be plated is such a lifesaver for me.

    Thank you so much for sharing my ebook with your readers. I hope to help many moms get dinner on the table.

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