How to Family Meal Plan and Enjoy It

time management Sep 17, 2020

How to Family Meal Plan and Enjoy It

Last week things were tense in my house over taco meat.

Yep, taco meat.

It wasn’t just any taco meat.  It was the frozen taco meat I had prepared weeks ago so I could take a night off from cooking.  A frozen meal from an evening of double cooking is something worth fighting for... who’s with me here?

Hubby had pulled it out to make lunch for the kids on a random Thursday.  Bonus points for helping with lunch, but when I walked into the kitchen to see taco meat sizzling, I saw red. I’m territorial over my freezer meals.

Ok, I agree I need to be more flexible (working on it).  

There are about a million things I’d rather be doing than meal planning and grocery shopping.  BUT, I believe the taste and quality of what we eat in important.  So I have a system to get it done quickly and painlessly.

Hoping it will help you.

My Meal Plan Process

On Monday nights, we always eat leftovers.  (Or I pull something from the freezer, but we won’t go there again.)

The time I would’ve spent cooking dinner, I spend planning out our meals for the week.  It usually takes about an hour (more if there’s a holiday or plans to entertain).

My favorite tool is Plan to Eat (that’s an affiliate link, but all these opinions are my own). It’s both a website and app that organizes your recipes, allows you to plan them into a calendar, and prints out an organized shopping list.

There’s a ton of ways to meal plan, but let me tell you what I LOVE about Plan to Eat.  

First, it’s so easy to load up your recipes. I’ve used the service for 9 years and loaded over 300 recipes.  You can install a recipe clipper on your browser, but honestly, I often forget out this feature.  I just click to add a recipe from the “cook” tab.

Loading all of your recipes.  Start with your family staples and you can add as you go. 

The tagging feature is a game-changer.  You can create any tag you want to quickly sort your recipes.  For example, thanks to kids' sports, there are nights where I have to bust out the Insta Pot.  Using the tag feature, I can find those recipes in seconds.

After you dial in the recipes, it’s smooth sailing.  

When I sit down to meal plan, I work from the calendar view on my desktop (aka the plan tab). I type in the meal I want to plan, drag, and drop it into my calendar. If we are just having something simple (no recipe required) I will type it into that day.

Check out the video:

<div style="position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0;"><iframe src="" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;"></iframe></div>

With a full calendar, you can create a shopping list.  I scroll through and delete the items I already have in my pantry.  Finally, I hit print and head to the grocery store.  You can access this list from the app on your phone if you want to save paper.


Here’s the fun part. When a friend asks for a recipe, it’s super easy to share.  Plus, if you have a friend join Plan to Eat, then you can share recipes.  When I’m in a food rut, scrolling friends recipes snaps me out QUICK!

Meal Planning Tips That Will Make You Want to Do It Again

By far, one of my favorite parts of meal planning is food porn.  It’s everywhere you scroll. Here are my favorite tips on searching for new recipes or to save time planning.

  • Use hashtags.  Instagram is my favorite social platform.  If I’m following a diet or cooking for Dad (he’s on a special diet). I will follow that hashtag.  I like the really nichey stuff so my feed doesn’t just make me hungry every time.  Then, when I come across something that looks yummy, I just hit save.  Here’s what I’m following:
      • #4hourbody
      • #slowcarbdiet
      • #instantpot
      • #fodmapdiet
  • Suggested accounts. Struggling to find inspiration from your inner circle? Go to one of your faves on Instagram and check out the suggestions. 

I hear the collective groan about meal planning. I’ve endured the teasing for my clipboard prepped with recipes for the week. And I defend my process and the frozen taco meat.

My friends over at Plan to Eat, say meal planning will reduce time spent grocery shopping and planning by 47.5%. 

Given time is our most precious resource, the hour spent meal planning is a sound investment.  Need help to squeeze that hour into your week?  Grab my free guide to digital calendar hacks.  

Grab your freebie!!

You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life.  Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.

Yes Please

50% Complete