paper meal planner and recipe book

Mom Hacks for Meal Planning

This week’s guest blog is from our very own Jessica Dabaja! Jessica teaches our Cardio + Core classes at Renew Mama (if you’re lucky, you might even catch her subbing a barre class here and there too). She is also a health and fitness coach. Here are her personal tips and tricks for making meal planning easier for her and her family. Enjoy!

“I know, just the thought of meal planning AND prepping can be super stressful! It’s one more thing to add to your already long to do list.

Looking at meal planning and prepping as a way to actually save you time in your week can make it way less daunting. That time you spend thinking EVERY SINGLE day, “What am I going to make for dinner?” can get done in one quick sit down! Instead of 2 or 4 trips to the store in one week, you will be making ONE trip. Let’s tackle meal planning today and save meal prepping for another day. One baby step at a time is a great way to see lasting change!

Creating a Habit

Choose a specific time and day every week to plan your meals. It doesn’t have to be on a Sunday. If Monday or Tuesday works best for your schedule, that’s great! After a few weeks of being committed to meal planning on that specific day and time, it can become as natural as checking your Facebook! I know there will still be some weeks where you will live meal by meal and play that game where you find whatever you can in your fridge to make it into a “dinner.” Success happens when you have more meal planned weeks than hectic unplanned ones. I know you can do this!

Save Your Meal Plans

Are you trying to come up with new recipes every week? You don’t have to. After faithfully meal planning for one month, you will have FOUR meal plans that you can re-use. Whether you handwrite them on good old-fashioned paper, make Pinterest boards, or type them on your computer…SAVE those little gold mines! I often go back to one of my meal plans and just tweak the meals a tad to incorporate what is on sale for that week. Soon you’ll even have a pile of meal plans for each season of the year!

Keep It Simple

Use one or two different resources for planning your meals each week. Pinterest and my coaching recipe portal are my two favorites. You can use recipe books, your favorite food blogger, or even Instagram. Find a few you like and switch between them each week. Sticking to your meal plan is more likely to happen if you are not getting bored with the same recipes. But be careful of the opposite – getting overwhelmed with too many options.

Food Sharing

This is one of my favorite hacks. Choose meals that you can use the same kind of protein, starches, or vegetables with. This cuts down on your shopping list and saves you money. For example, choose ground beef that you can use in chili and sloppy joe’s. Or choose rice that you can make for a casserole and for a stir fry.

Now is your time! Sit down at your favorite place in your home, get a warm up of coffee or tea, and plan this week’s meals. Create an experience that you can enjoy and have fun with it!”

Check out Jessica’s Pinterest boards for some great ideas for your next week of meals. And don’t forget to come try one of Jessica’s amazing classes at Renew Mama Studio!