Easy Family Meal Planning

6 minutes
July 3, 2023
Carole Jones

If you are busy…and who isn’t…weekly menu planning can be such a time and frustration saver, but it has to be done in a way that works for you and your family. Otherwise, it will fail. To figure this out, you have to understand these 5 easy principles that will guarantee lasting success!

Easy Family Dinner Planning

Where Are You Right NOW?

Before we go a single step further, this is the question you need to answer first…and completely honestly. This is not where you want to be but where you are now!

When you know where you are, you can make an informed decision about what the next best step should be for your family. No one can tell what is best first step should be for you….no, not even me, but I can help you easily figure it out.

To find a completely honest view of where you are right now and what your next step should be, go grab this free 7 day menu planning challenge. The first 5 days couldn’t be more simple. All you do is track what you have for dinner, who made it or was it take-out, and would you have it again. Simple!

You then use that honest picture of what your week was like to make ONE change for the following week, then fill out that plan. Why only one? Because any more than that and… It. Will. Fail. You can’t go from a couch potato to running a marathon in a week. Just take it one step at a time my friend.

It’s mind-blowing to see what you can learn from this extremely simple activity so go grab it for free now.

Know Your Schedule

Why do most meal plans fail? Because normal day-to-day life gets in the way so it is crucial for you to know your schedule before you put pen to paper.

Easy Meal Planning 101

If you already know you have to work late on Tuesday, you get to plan accordingly. Maybe that’s the night you plan to pick up some take-out, or you can plan a meal in the slow cooker. Is there a recipe you can prepare before work and have someone else toss in the oven so it is ready when you walk in the door?

Or even better….plan to have your partner or child make dinner that night. If you know anything about me and my life-changing digital course, Family Dinner Academy, I am a MASSIVE advocate for this option. Why should getting dinner on the table every night rest on your shoulders alone?

Have a Panic Plan

As we just discussed, life is crazy and hectic. Even if you have every single meal planned perfectly around your schedule for the week, some unexpected emergency or change of plan will happen that could bring your perfect plan crumbling down. But we will not let that happen to you.

This is where your Panic Plan saves the day. Simply, you keep one meal in your freezer that can be tossed in the oven or microwave quickly when all mayhem has broken loose. This is where you get to bring out those frozen pizzas, frozen noodle bowls, and the like. Here’s the key however….you have to commit to only having ONE on hand and to only use it as your Panic Plan. It can’t be your lazy plan 🙂

If you end up using your Panic Plan, be sure you replace it the next time you go to the store.

Easy Meal Planning 101

Create Your Personal Recipe Vault

“PLEASE….just tell me what to make for dinner!”

Here’s the problem with that….I have no idea what you and your family like to eat. Know who does? You and your family 🙂

This activity will only take about 20 minutes to complete but it will FOREVER change how smoothly weekly menu planning becomes for you.

Full details are in this free Personal Recipe Vault tool, but here’s the basic concept:

  • Print out the tool, or use it electronically because it is an editable PDF, then sit down with your family and have everyone record what their favorite dinners are.
  • The vault is categorized by types of recipes and you also get to include where you can find the recipe, so you don’t waste time trying to find the right cookbook, recipe folder, or website when you go to make that meal.
  • This tool is now your invaluable weekly resource when you can’t decide what to make for dinner. You pull up your vault and pick from there. Easy peasy.
  • As you try new recipes that you love, add them to your vault.

Your Personal Recipe Vault becomes a living, growing part of your family and only becomes a more valuable time the longer you use it! Mine is over 10 years old and I would be lost without it.

Easy Meal Planning 101

Limit Yourself to ONE New Recipe a Week (at most)

If you are excited about truly making the jump to successful meal planning, this may feel like I am dumping water all over your fire. It’s not that you shouldn’t try new recipes, but if you try too many all at once, you will burn out quickly and give up.

Try two new recipes a month, spaced a couple weeks apart. This principle continues the crucial principle of only making ONE change at a time. It eliminates the overwhelm and minimizes failure.

Plus, how much time do you waste scrolling through Pinterest looking for new recipes? I know you already have a board full of recipes, so start with what you have already pinned and pick ONE. If you love it, add it to your Personal Recipe Vault then move on to the next one that sparks your taste buds just by looking at it.

Easy Meal Planning 101

Ready to Flip The Switch on Your Chaotic Family Dinners?

All five of these principles are the foundation to start building a powerful family dinner blueprint. But are you ready to stop doing it all ALONE and get back HOURS of free time every week?

Join the Family Dinner Academy waitlist! FDA is the ultimate step-by-step system for getting dinner on the table by working TOGETHER as a family….so you no longer have to do it alone. We launch in January 2021, a perfect way to start of your New Year and press the reset button to eliminate the family dinner chaos and getting your life back.

When you join the waitlist, you will be the first to know when we open the doors and receive special offers that are only offered to those on the waitlist.

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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