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Oh, week after back to school week, you win.
I’m tired. The kids are tired. The kids are cranky. The summer days of staying up late playing Xbox and going to the pool all day with the babysitter are OVER. For me, it means the days of sleeping in a little later and rolling out to work as soon as the babysitter arrives at the house are over.
The excitement of last week at the newness of a new school year is gone. The teacher has started yelling, giving homework, and the fun has worn off. Kidding, but only to a certain degree.
Ready or not, school has started back.
Evenings during the school year can be much more hectic than summer evenings. Between homework, sports practices, church activities and meetings, things can get a bit chaotic around our house!
As a mom, keeping meals simple and planned keeps our family unit a little more cohesive in the afternoon. Days that meals aren’t planned, my stress level is just as high as the kiddos when we roll in from school and work. What should we eat? The kids are ravenous as if they haven’t eaten for days. Do we throw a frozen pizza in the oven yet again, or head out for Mexican? Neither option is the best, and we choose both at times, but a little prep work and planning can go a long way in the meal planning area.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most fabulous at meal planning, but this is one of my goals for the school year. These tools I have found below will surely help me get there, right? (Hey, at least one of us can still have hope, right?)
So-here are all my tips for you and myself compiled into one post. Meal Plan-we can do this!
Keep It Simple
Having a general plan for meals for the week written out will help! It doesn’t have to be detailed if you aren’t that type of person. I LOVE this theme night idea from Maria at www.halsanutrition.com. She is a mom, a dietitian, and keeps it real about food and meal planning!
photo courtesy of http://halsanutrition.com/2016/02/simplified-meal-planning/
Plan The Meals in Advance (Along With a Grocery List)
Advance? What’s that, a city in France? Hehehe….I’m not alone in my meal planning procrastination, am I? It always sound like a fabulous idea, and then something else comes up and I forget. Enter this awesome printable meal plan, that comes with a grocery list on the same page!
Also at the bottom of the page is a place to track your servings of foods, as well as water. I love this because drinking enough water is one of my other “when the kids go back to school” goals.
photo courtesy of http://printablecrush.com/free-printable-weekly-meal-planner/
More Great Printables….
photo courtesy of http://bydawnnicole.com/2015/01/organizational-printables-meal-plan-grocery-list.html
Dawn at bydawnnicole.com has these awesome printables for grocery shopping, divided into sections, to make meal planning easier. These are brightly colored and super user-friendly!
We all know that shopping with a list is the only way to go. In addition to keeping us on target with budget, it also keeps us on target with our waistline! Am I right or am i right? Going through a grocery store on an empty stomach with kids and NO list is a recipe for DISASTER!
So, grab a snack, print this AWESOME grocery list and meal plan printable, leave the kids with a babysitter (or not:), and head to the store!
Make It Visible!
photo courtesy of http://www.theresourcefulmama.com/monthly-meal-plan/
This free printable from the resourceful mama takes all the guesswork out of the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Kim has planned out a month’s worth of menus for us, and all we have to do is shop and buy the food! Woohoo!! These meals are easy, healthy, and things that the whole family will eat. Anyone else have super picky kids? Just me??
Kim is full of good meal planning tips, so I will be looking to her for lots of great advice in my meal planning journey. I especially love this post from her site “How to survive when you didn’t get the meal plan done. It seems we have been doing alot of those things this summer, so at least we were excelling at that. LOL!
Make It Fun!
photo courtesy of http://pagingsupermom.com/2016/01/meal-planning-free-printables/
In addition to planning it and putting it all in our calendar, this super cute dry erase version is fun for the whole family! Kids will love seeing what the plan is for the week, and this will keep them from asking, “what’s for dinner?” over and over again! Plus, we know that when we post things in plain sight, they are less easy to forget!
Ok, so maybe you have tried all these super cutesy ways to meal plan, and you know it just won’t happen without someone sending you a detailed list and recipes.
Lucky for you (and me!), there are lots of meal planning services out there! The one I have used and personally recommend is 5dollarmealplan. Erin and Jim are so friendly and easy to work with, have easy, great recipes, and for $5 a month, you get your meals planned out and grocery lists supplied! Love it! We used the service during the school year in the spring, and it was well worth it!
The best part about 5dollarmealplan is that they offer a 2 week free trial. No questions asked if you don’t like it, just cancel. The customer service is also unbeatable. With the 2 week trial, they include several bonuses, and offer coupons for items you will buy.