This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.
I've written quite a few things about meal planning over the years and have tried many different things as well. I'm always looking for the best system. As I'm sure you understand, life with a teen and tween has increased the level of running around at our house, and it leaves this hardworking mom looking for quick meal planning ideas.
I'm sure you know what I mean, but both the beginning of the school year and the end of the year are quite the busy season for the kids and us as their parents. There is always so much going on. Eating out seems appealing until I look at how much that costs both to our health and to our wallet. So, what's a mom to do?
Quick meal planning is the best option, and I've got some great meal planning ideas for you today that will help you figure out how to get dinner on the table without much fuss.
Quick Meal Planning Ideas
Before we get started with the ideas and tips, half of the battle with meal planning is having recipes. If you can get that part of the fight taken care of, your meal planning will go so much faster.
Besides having clean stores with great layouts, Food Lion has a blog with so many recipes. You can use their database of recipes to search for things you know your family will like.
When you're searching, search from some fresh twists on classics. It keeps things from getting boring at the dinner table and makes things a bit more fun!
I found a few fun recipes with a twist to get you started and you can find the full database here — Food Lion Recipes.
- Crunchy Tacos – Tacos are always a hit at our house as are pocket foods; this combines both.
- Ice Cream Tacos – A fun dessert taco!
- Taco Pizza – a fun twist on tacos, but in pizza form
- Taco Burgers – another fun twist on tacos in a delicious burger
- Pigs in a Blanket Crescent Ring – I mean, who doesn't love Pigs in a Blanket. This recipe makes a big ring of them. Yum!
- Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots – Mmmm Cheese, Cauliflower and Tater Tots. This is sure to be another family favorite.
- Beef Tostadas – Tostadas are a great family meal because everyone can ‘decorate' their own, as we say here. That allows everyone to make something they will enjoy eating.
- Crockpot Tostadas and Tostada Shells – another version of Tostadas with homemade shells that take 10 minutes to make.
- Salsa Rice – this is a super easy twist on Mexican rice
Tip 1: Have themes for each day of the week
I've got a whole post about this for you, so I won't go into too much detail here, but this will save you a bunch of time.
Assign a meal theme to each dinner — for example, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast Wednesday, Burger Thursday, Pizza Friday.
Pick themes your family will like.
It sounds so basic, but it makes it so fast and easy to figure out what to eat. It also makes it easy to search for a recipe to match the theme.
You can also take classic recipes and put a twist on them to match your theme. Just little tweaks that make them all new but still super easy and quick for you.
I've also got a free printable at the bottom of this post that you can use to write out your themes and/or your meals for the week.
Tip 2: Make a list of family favorites
I have a printable for this in my Real Organized Moms class where I teach more about meal planning, but if you can make a list of the meals your family love to eat that are quick and easy to make, it'll make meal planning during the fall or spring busy seasons, so quick and easy.
You won't have to think about it. You'll look at your list and plug your favorites in for that week. And you're done.
Tip 3: Use an all in one meal planner and list
If you use a pre-printed planner, like this one, it'll make your job even faster. You can write the meal you're having on one side and build your list as you add things to your meal plan for the week.
One and done. It'll save you a ton of time because you're taking care of two things at one time, which is pretty much always a time saving. You're already thinking about it all, might as well take care of it all at the same time.
Tip 4: Assign planning and cooking to others
This is the best tip! Sadly, so many moms don't do it. And we need to stop that.
We don't have to do it all. Nor should we.
Assign other family members a specific day of the week that they cook. They can also plan what they cook. That takes some of the burden off of you.
We do this along with tip #1 every week at our house. My daughters (17 &12) cook one dinner every week. They plan the meals, cook and clean up. I still occasionally help my 12-year-old with clean up, but for the most part, it is a night off for me. And I LOVE it!
Tip 5: Use a delivery or store pick up option
Another excellent tip for time savings. Let someone else do the shopping for you.
Food Lion is so close to my house; it makes their Online Shopping with pick up or delivery amazing! I can do all my shopping online and let them do the shopping for me. I could also have my groceries delivered in an hour. Now that is a huge time saving because I tend to take forever at the grocery store. While I'm online, I can also take a look at the Weekly deals and make sure to add a few of those to my cart. It's all so easy and convenient.
A few meal planning ideas to add some fun:
Just because the fall and the spring are busy, doesn't mean we can't have some fun with our meals.
If your kids are old enough to know what Pi Day is, they'll love this Pi Day pie recipe. Let's make it just for fun even if it's not Pi Day. 😍🥧
In April, it's National Grilled Cheese month, so have some fun with some twists on the grilled cheese with your family. Try these Ultimate Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches or here are 5 ideas for yummy varieties of grilled cheese that my family loved.
You could have a picnic on the living room floor or your patio/deck if the weather is nice in honor of National Picnic Day (4/23).
Or select local and/or organic foods from your local Food Lion in honor of Earth Day on April 22nd.
What are your tips and ideas for meal planning during the busy seasons of motherhood? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to get new tips and ideas!
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