If you want to get ahead and organised at home one of the best things you can do for your family is plan your family meals ahead of time. Meal planning can seem daunting at first if you’ve never done it but fear not once you are into a routine it’s ever so easy and will make sure that you keep within a budge never have the dilemma of what’s for dinner and with a few of our top tips and advice you’ll be owning the kitchen.

Pinnable image for the ultimate guide to meal planning for busy moms

Why Meal Plan?

It’s an obvious question and for years I refused, I really didn’t have an idea of why anyone would want to. Every evening I would open the pantry look at what ingredients I had and throw together a meal.

Then I had kids! At first it worked, but as they got older, one became a fussy eater, the other had a social life to rival a celebrity it became essential.

I need a plan that meant that quick and easy meals or those that could be prepared ahead of time were done on days where there were after school activities and longer more complex when there was time.

It also really helped us planning to eat seasonal ingredients and even tailor our meals to the time of the year, check out our winter eating guide to staying healthy and our seasonal recipes for more ideas.

What I never realised was quite how much money I would save as well. With a meal plan in place I knew exactly what I needed and could check to see what I already had and then just get what was needed.

Plus, it meant that every day we managed to sit down and eat as a family it’s so important to do with your kids and meal planning really helps. If you want to understand and read more about why family meals are important then click and discover why.

If this sounds like something that you need then you are in the right place.

First off…

How to Get Started Meal Planning in 2021

family meal plan sheet with How to Start Meal Planning for your Family from Hey Mom! What's Cooking?

But, where do you start? First thing you are going to need is our Meal Planning Cheat Sheet, it’s partly filled in with some family favourites but lots of space for you to add extra’s that are your family’s favourites too. All you need to do to get it is subscribe to our Hey Mom! What’s Cooking? emails and you’ll get it straight away.

a copy of a printable meal planning cheat sheet for family meals on a white table with fruit and veg around

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Plus a bonus of our meal planning cheat sheet to give you even more ideas and support with meal planning for your family.

Then, head on over to our tips on getting started family meal planning this year. We’ve got our basic tips for getting started.

Next…

What about if you are crazy busy?

I know this year hasn’t been as busy as others but back when I started meal planning for the family we had kids going every where. So I needed a way to manage it even when we were busy.

Just imagine our standard week, cub, scouts, school events, parents evenings, work commitments, dance classes, art club, dance show and throw in homework we hardly had time to thing. If that sounds like you then you’ll need to read our guide to Meal Planning for a Busy Family. We put it together at the beginning of 2020 little did we know how unbusy our year would actually be.

But, things will return to normal and we’ll be all over the place again so it’s worth having a look at and seeing if any of the tips can help you.

Lastly…

Get Ahead of the Game and Batch Cook

This really was a game changer for us when we started it, batch cooking and preparing the ingredients as well as the bases for meals on a set day of the week.

mom chopping up veg as she prepares the ingredients for the weeks family meals ahead of time

With the meal plan created, the shopping done I then spend time the next day preparing for the week ahead. Things that can be chopped, mixed and made up in advance are and then we are ready to go ahead and cook as and when needed.

If you are interested in getting started batch cooking or already do it and want to see how I do it here then check out our tips for once a week meal prep as well as our cooking day tips for once a week meal prep.

What next…

With it all in place it’s time to start and form a habit. I can take a couple of months to get into the routine but once you are watch and reap the benefits.

Maybe you’ll even persuade your fussy eaters to have a go a some new dishes, I know it’s worked for us.

Check out these family meals ideas below they may just inspire you to add them to your meal plan for the coming weeks.