How to Start Family Meal Planning in 2021

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As it’s heading to the start of the New Year, it’s time to set some family goals and one of our biggest goals is to make sure we stay on budget and eat healthily. No more rushed meals or last-minute “What’s for dinner!” dilemmas. So it’s to family meal planning we return with the goal of sticking to it throughout 2021. The hardest thing that we have found is getting started but once you get a routine down, you will be good to go. So to help you on your way we’ve put together our helpful guide on how to start meal planning for your family.

meal plan basics - how to start planning for your family

Tips for How to Start Family Meal Planning

Understand What Your Family Enjoys Eating

Before you even begin the meal planning process, it’s wise to know what your family likes to eat. No one wants to meal plan, shop, and cook for a family and then they end up not like it. I’d suggest meal planning with meals that your family actually enjoys. Make a list of all your family’s favorite meals and then you have a really good start.

Check out some of our favourite Family Meal Ideas below:

heaty home cooked beef goulash for chilly days when comfort food is needed for family dinners
delicious quick and simple to make this family friendly cottage pie is great for kids of all ages
easy mac and cheese casserole family favourite comfort food for mid week dinners

Plan a Meal for Each Meal Time in Your House

In order for meal planning to work, you have to sit down and plan a meal for each time your family will be eating at home that week as well as any packed lunches needed. This may include breakfasts too so don’t forget them. Meal planning does take a little bit of time, but as you find meals your family loves, you can recycle those meals into your meal plan.

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a printout of Hey Mom! What's Cooking Meal Planning Ideas Cheat Sheet

To help you on your way you may like to download our Meal Ideas Cheat Sheet, we’ve added a few of our favourite ideas under each of the categories but left space for you to add your own where you want.


Make a Grocery List for Your Meals

The next big step in meal planning is by making a grocery list for your meals. By making a list, when you go to the grocery store, you can assume you won’t forget anything. I hold onto the list for a few hours before I go to the store. There is always something that I forget to add to the list! I also take a picture of my grocery list or I just email it to myself.

Spend Some Time Meal Prepping

One thing you should know about meal planning for your family is that spending time prepping really helps. This can be where you spend time cutting up the fruits and veggies for the week. You can spend time browning or cooking the meat that you will need for that week as well. Meal prepping is a true gem and you might find it necessary for your family.

Check out our tips for once a week meal prep as this is something that we have been doing this year.

Stick to Your Meal Plan

Probably the hardest part of meal planning is sticking to it. When you stick to the meal plan, you can save a lot of money. Plus, you won’t waste all of your time planning for something that doesn’t go through. Sticking to your meal plan may be hard, but you can do it.

Enjoy the Organized Meal Planning Life

While no one is perfect at meal planning, it’s a great thing to do for your family. And now that you know about how to start meal planning for your family, you can begin this journey. Remember the tips listed in this resource, but be flexible!

My best advice is to do what works for you and your family.

Getting started with meal planning is exciting!

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to start meal planning?

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