Meal planning can feel like a lot of work and not much fun, but it’s one chore that will save you so much time and energy and brain power later in the week when you are pressed for time and stressed. Before I started meal planning years ago, I would find myself scrambling a the last minute to get supper on the table more often that I’d like to admit!
5 Ways to Make Meal Planning More Enjoyable
Here are five ways to make your meal planning more enjoyable:
Get the whole family on board
Everyone has a picky eater in the household, and if you can’t think of one, it might just be you! Enlist the help of your family members to help put together your meal plan. Your husband may be more excited about eating something he helped plan. If you have a picky five year old who is currently only interested in eating a mac and cheese diet, then getting your child involved will make it easier to come up with ideas and make meal planning more enjoyable.
I often will ask my kids for menu suggestions when I sit down. “What would you like to eat this week?” If it’s feasible, I try to make it happen. The benefit for me is that I don’t have to think so hard!
When kids are involved in the planning and preparation of meals, they learn to make better choices when it comes to food and they are also more willing to try new foods.
related: My Go-To Meals for Busy Days
Invest in a pretty menu planner
Everything is more fun with a pretty notebook or list pad! Get rid of that boring yellow legal pad and find yourself a menu plan you’ll love to look at each week. Find something that you’ll have fun writing in and that’s nice to look at. Just think of how much more fun you’ll have meal planning when you’re writing down your shopping list.
My Purpose 31 Planners have meal planning sections included. Or you can download this menu planner for free, just fill out the form below.
Light a Candle and Sip some Tea
One of the biggest complaints when it comes to meal planning is that people are too exhausted or too tired. Before you head to the couch to veg out, grab that pretty notebook of yours and pour yourself a cup of tea – my favorite is hibiscus tea. It can make your meal planning experience a little more enjoyable.
Include at least one new recipe that gets you excited every week
Believe it or not, one of the secrets to a successful meal plan is to keep your meals exciting. Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays can make it easy to get into a rut of the same old food. After all, you probably set up your meal plan this way to help you save time and money. Find a least one night a week to make a new recipe that you’re really excited to try. You’ll get to try new dishes, and you’ll be cooking something different for a change.
Give yourself a night off
We all may love cooking, but none of us want to do it every single day for the rest of our lives. Some nights, we don’t want to do the dishes or cook. Give yourself permission to take the night off. Whether it’s paper plates and Chinese food or just a simple frozen pizza, it’s important to give yourself a break once in a while.
These days my family is so busy we are known to buy take out once or twice a month or three times. I used to think that was a terrible thing, but one day I realized that it really is okay. We still eat healthy. We still make good food choices. We still eat our meals together. But in this busy season of life when I’m frequently traveling with my teens… eating out or getting take out from time to time makes life a little easier!
Planning your meals each week doesn’t have to take a ton of time, and it can also be quite fun! You can also start preparing your meals ahead of time to make meal planning even less stressful.