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Meal Planning, Groceries, and Busy Days

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Sunday  afternoons are when I usually sit down with my meal planner and decide what we’re going to eat for the week. If it wasn’t for meal planning, I’d be lost come time for supper – or breakfast or lunch for that matter!

Our schedule these days is busier than ever and it’s important to me that we still eat as many meals together as a family as possible. I used to spend A LOT of time cooking every day – in fact, I had set really high expectations for myself.

I spent hours in the kitchen everyday cooking three hot meals nearly every day of the week. I cooked large meals for our very large extended family on a weekly basis. I made most of the bread we ate each week from scratch. It’s no secret I love to cook. And I love good food.

But something had to give.

Meal Planning, Groceries, and Busy Days @ AVirtuousWoman.org

One day, I was thinking about how hard life seemed and I realized a lot of it – had to do with my own expectations for myself. I wanted to be the “perfect” mom, the “perfect” wife – the “perfect” everything. Or, in other words, I had this ideal image in my mind of what perfect looked like. I love my family so much I wanted to be totally awesome all the time.

And then one day it hit me. I realized that it was okay to take a few shortcuts. It’s okay to not cook everything from scratch and it’s okay to make simple meals on a day in and day out basis. I can still pour my heart {and time} into a meal when I am able to.

So, these days, with our crazy wonderful schedule keeping us hopping, I plan for simple meals that taste great but don’t take a lot of time to prepare. I use the slow cooker as often as possible. And I love to prepare make-ahead freezer recipes when I have the time – to save me time later. Other days, I just pick one of my go-to meals that’s easy to prepare and quick!

Meal planning is a life saver on busy days. I think about my schedule for the week and I plan meals that fit the days activities. So, I know Tuesdays are always go, go, go and I love starting my slow cooker first thing in the morning to supper cooks without me! Make some biscuits or cornbread – and well, I can have dinner on the table in no time – hot and fresh.

Meal time is so important. Not only do our bodies need nourishment, but the soul of our family needs nurturing too. Dinner around the table helps to feed our family’s heart, mind, and tummies! Creating warm memories around the table doesn’t mean you have to slave in the kitchen for hours – it means you do the best you can to get some good, healthy food on the table and then focus on the conversation and laughter.

3 Meal Planning Tips for Busy Days

  1. Choose meals that fit your schedule.
  2. Use a printable meal planner.
  3. Have a list of your family’s favorite Go-To Meals.

A big part of meal planning is the grocery shopping. Well, if you’re like me you want to get in and out as soon as possible. We live in a small town. That means we do the grocery shopping when we’re in the vicinity of our favorite stores. Today, my husband and I stopped at Kroger to pick up a few items for this weeks meals.

Meal Planning, Groceries, and Busy Days @ AVirtuousWoman.org

We keep a well stocked pantry which helps us save money. So, whenever we do grocery shop we can fill in the gaps with what we need and what might be on sale. My husband does the bulk of our grocery shopping, but if I happen to be with him, I’ll tag along.

I make a lot of cornbread – it’s the kind of food I grew up on and it reminds me of home. This week at Kroger I picked up some great sales, a bag of Martha White Yellow Cornmeal and some onions for one of my favorite recipes passed down from my kids Great, Great, Grandma Carlisle. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you tomorrow!

Meal Planning, Groceries, and Busy Days @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be hard. I personally love, love the self-checkouts. My husband and I are a lot alike that way.

Meal Planning, Groceries, and Busy Days @ AVirtuousWoman.org

5 Tips to Make Grocery Shopping Easier

  1. Plan your menu. As I mentioned above, meal planning saves the day at my house. I like to plan every meal and snacks so there are no surprises or brain crunching when everyone is hungry.
  2. Make a list. You can look over sale flyers at home to help you find deals. Also, use your meal plan to help you make your list. Be sure to check your pantry and refrigerator for food that needs to be used up. Writing the list out according to the layout of your grocery store can be helpful as well.
  3. Find a babysitter. If you’re able to, leave the kids at home with your husband. Or, find a friend you can trade off with. She can watch your kids and you can watch her kids while you grocery shop.
  4. Eat before you shop. Going to the grocery store hungry is a recipe for disaster. You’re more likely to go over budget and buy things you don’t need or that are unhealthy.
  5. Stock up on staples when they’re on sale. This one saves me so much time and money. If your pantry is always filled with a good stockpile of foods you regularly use, you can shop less and save more.

Moms are used to busy days, but that doesn’t mean busy days have to be hectic or stressful. A little planning makes life easier so you have time to get to the game, play on the floor with your kids, and sit at the dinner table with your family  – you know, the important stuff.

What helps you get dinner on the table on busy days?

Free Printable Menu Plan + Shopping List

Weekly Menu Plan @ AVirtuousWoman.org
Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List

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