Five Days of Homemaking: Five Meal Planning Tips

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If you've been around the blog for a while, you'll know that homemaking has never been something that has come naturally to me. Over the years, however, I have learned. And, over my twenty or so years of marriage, I've become a better homemaker. In this series, I'm sharing tips for five homemaking areas. You can find links to the other posts in the series here as well.

Five Meal Planning Tips
Five Tips for Living Frugally
Five Tips for Cleaning and Organizing
Five Tips for New Homeschoolers
Five Tips for Holiday Planning

In today's post, I'm looking at meal planning. Meal planning has never been particularly easy for me. But I have learned much and improved much in almost twenty years of marriage. So I'll gladly share some of the things that have made meal planning easier for me.

1. Meal planning saves money. This one sounds obvious, but so many times we choose not to plan meals even though we know this is true. When we have a plan, we aren't as likely to stop for fast food. We aren't as likely to go to the store with no list and buy everything we see. When we have a plan, we don't spend as much at the store.
In our early married years eating out was the common practice. Most of the time it's because I didn't have a plan. And when there isn't a plan and everyone's hungry, you are going to get something to eat somewhere. And it's going to cost you money.

2. Meal planning helps you to feed your family healthy food. This is another one that should be obvious but is often overlooked. When I have planned my meals for the week, I will buy things at the store that fit those meals. I'm much less likely to buy junk foods and convenience foods because they aren't in my plan. When I've planned out my meals, I can make sure that the meals I'm planning are healthy and nutritious.

3. There are different ways to meal plan, and you can choose what fits your family. I have a friend who plans the whole month worth of meals at a time. She has the meals written in on a white board calendar, and they are pretty much written in stone. This doesn't work for me. If I have a meal planned, and we can't do it that night for some reason, I have some OCD children who will not be comfortable with the change. 
We have a flexible schedule, and we need a flexible plan. Instead of a calendar, I have my weekly meals in a list. That way when it turns out that we are going to be gone all day Friday, I can choose a crockpot meal and pop it in that morning, so it will be ready by evening. I choose a variety for the week- crockpot, ground beef, chicken, pasta- and then pick the easiest one to make that day.

4.It is okay to have a "meal rotation." I have about fifteen to twenty meals I feel like I can cook well. I reuse those meals. I rotate through them each month. Some of them are particularly popular, and I might use those every week. Some of them are less liked, and I might only use them once a month.
The book Simplified Dinners is one that really helped me with this idea. The author shows how you can have one "base meal" that you change up in many different ways. This makes meal planning simple because you are using the same meal in different ways. I reviewed the book last year and learned quite a bit!

5. Have one location to store your recipes. I learned this one the hard way. Over the years I picked up recipes I could make well. But they were all spread out- some in one cookbook, some in another. Now I've consolidated things. 
I mark recipes wherever I find them- pinning them on Pinterest or saving the page as a bookmark. But once I have a recipe that I love and we eat, I print it out and put it in a binder. I also have my Simplified Dinners pages there. I keep the pages in page protectors so that I can spread my binder out and not worry about spills while I'm cooking. 

Tomorrow I'll share some tips for frugal living. Stop by to read and leave some of your favorite homemaking tips in the comments!


  1. Great tips! I especially like the last one to store recipes in one place. For some reason I've never done this. It's going on my to-do list!

  2. I was so tired of scrambling to find things!

  3. I need to get more organized with my recipes for sure! Thanks for sharing the great tips.

    1. You're welcome. I always struggle to stay on top of it. :-)

  4. These are some great tips. I really need to get more organized with stuff like this.
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing on Throwback Thursday Blog-Style. I can't wait to see what you share this week.

    1. It's a big help for me to be somewhat organized. I still have to cook it, but it's easier. :-)


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