I am really trying to get a better handle on meal planning for so many reasons. We need to eat more healthy meals, we are trying to really cut down on the amount of overly processed foods we eat, I want to be a bit more frugal with our food budget. I do ok with meal planning some of the time but I am chronically disorganized and have some picky eaters in my family (I am one of them I admit it, lol) we also like a LOT of variety in what we eat. I love it when I find a system that I can just use straight away and I have found a couple of meal planning systems that I really like. I like these because they include the weekly menu, shopping lists and recipes all in one place. Here are my favorites:
#1 The entire Cooking for the Rushed series from Sandi Richard. I first saw her tv show Fixing Dinner and tried some of those recipes, from that point I was hooked and now own all of her books. Her meals range from traditional comfort foods to more exotic ethnic dishes and are quick and easy to prepare.
#2 My Family Meal Planner. I got the Lite version and have been really happy with most of the recipes. They are made with fresh healthy ingredients and taste really good. Also, very quick to put together and includes a crock pot meal each week. I also have the Kids Meal Planner and I am thinking of getting the lunchbox planner because I do like the system and I do pack lunches for my little one when we go on field trips or when she goes to camp during school breaks.
#3 Modern Menus is a free site that I also add into the rotation when they have a week that appeals to us or just to add some additional variety.
One of the other things I like about my #1 & #2 planners is that they generally use the same type of proteins, sides and helper ingredients so it makes it easy to stock up when things go on sale. I actually know what to buy and about how much I will need and since I am an avid Grocery Gamer this is a major plus for me.
There are some planners that I tried that just didn’t work for us either because we didn’t care for the food, they took too long to prepare, etc. Some of our rejects were Saving Dinner which I really wanted to love because I am a Flylady fan but we really just did not like the meals. Another was E-Mealz, we liked the food with this one but I didn’t like being tied to one store for my shopping.
There are so many other planners and systems out there and I know there are those of you who find this stuff easy to do it yourself, I am always amazed by that ability! In the meantime I’ll keep on trying things and getting better at it. At least I am feeding my family better, saving some money and maintaining my sanity. 🙂
If you have a favorite meal planner or system please share it and I will gladly check it out. I am always looking to broaden my horizons. Thanks for stopping by!