Meal planning on Trim Healthy Mama or with any lifestyle will make your days and evenings so much easier.
Do you start the new year off with new organizational goals? Being more prepared is always on my list of goals for the new year. Implementing plans to get my home and life more organized just makes life easier and gives me more time to do things that are more fun.
Meal planning on Trim Healthy Mama is not just a New Year’s Resolution for me. I do it all year long. If I don’t plan my meals, I may as well plan to fail! That might sound dramatic but it is true.
Even after following THM for several years now, I need my plan to keep me on track. Now if you are thinking that you can’t plan, don’t like to meal plan or can’t be that organized don’t leave me yet. I have some tips and tricks that make it pretty easy.
Check out this cleaning hack that keeps my home tidy using a Fitbit or Smart Watch!
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Meal Planning on Trim Healthy Mama
Since college graduation, I have been dabbling in meal planning. Having a plan certainly helps during that 6:00 “What’s for dinner?” rush. And it will also help save you money on your grocery budget so that THM doesn’t cost too much.
This post will show you the different tools that I use to meal plan for my family in an effort to stay on plan.
Meal Planning App
Let me start off by saying that I don’t pay for apps. Like ever. I think I have bought maybe a handful in the last 10 years. But I did buy this one and have used it for many years now and really love it.
I think it costs $2 or $3 to purchase.
(I think it is good to note that this is not sponsored, I just really like the app & I paid my own money for this app)
To find it search Meal Plan+ on the App Store. The icon looks like a blue handheld shopping basket.
Why I Love This App
You can save recipes from websites right on you meal plan (making it easy to find later), write in your own recipe names or comments, and add categories like “snacks” or “dessert.”
The app also has a shuffle feature that will allow you to shuffle previous plans and use that for your meal plan for the week instead of starting from scratch. You will need to use the app for a couple of weeks first so that it will have a history of plans to shuffle.
Here is an example of how I have mine filled in:
Magnetic Chalkboard Meal Planner
If writing out your meal plan is more your style, a magnetic chalkboard stuck right on your fridge will help you plan.
I like this organizer because it helps me to see what I have planned for dinners and it shows my family what we have planned (eliminating the what’s for dinner question).
The only thing that I don’t like about this is that the sections are not big enough or sectioned correctly to list breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
So I just use it for dinners. However, I do love having it right on the fridge so that I can refer to it quickly to start dinner.
I tried & tried to get a good picture but the board had a bad glare. Anyway, you can see mine here on my fridge. Write out your meal and the Fuel type to make dinner a little easier.
Check Grocery Sale Flyers & Buy In Season
If saving money is part of your goal with meal planning on Trim Healthy Mama, you will want to check the weekly circulars and buy in season produce.
Glance through the flyer of the store that you plan to shop at. If they have a great sale on pork chops this week, add THM S Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops to your meal plan.
Wanting to make a new recipe that you found but the main item is not on sale this week? Just save that recipe for a day next week and check to see if there is a better deal then.
Meal Planning Process
I am sure there are tons of different ways to plan your meals. I wanted to share the way that I meal plan on Trim Healthy Mama.
Planning Throughout the Week
When I see a recipe on Pinterest that I want to make, I will save it to a board that I can easily access. If I know that I really want to make it, I will go ahead and add it to my meal planning app for the upcoming week.
And randomly throughout the day, I will occasionally think of a recipe. For example, you see a Mexican restaurant commercial on your TV and it reminds you that you haven’t made the cheesy salsa verde enchiladas that your family loves in a while.
As I think of those ideas that sound good, I will add them to the plan for a day in the next week or two.
Doing so gives you a partial plan so that on Sunday night you are not trying to plan 21 meals from scratch.
Using the Shuffle Feature on Meal Plan App
If you use the meal planning app from above, you can use the shuffle feature.
This will shuffle your past meal plans and give you a sample plan for the upcoming week. This is great for me if I did not plan throughout the week and I’m feeling uninspired.
And you will be able to delete anything that doesn’t work for the week. For example, if the app picks Georgia Peach baked oatmeal for you in the dead of winter, you might want to select something a bit more appropriate for the season.
Shop Your Pantry Before the Grocery Store
Another thing that will save you money when meal planning is to shop your pantry (and fridge/freezer) before you shop at the store.
Do you have a big head of cabbage that needs to be used? Add Cabb and Saus from the THM cookbook to your meal plan.
Already have some frozen chicken and cream cheese? Make this salsa verde cheesy chicken.
The key is to use up what you have that way even if you have to buy some items to complete your recipe, you at least started with some things that you previously bought. So you are preventing wasted items (and money) too!
This post was letter “M” in the Trim Healthy Mama A to Z series.