Is your life so busy that you feel you don't even have time for menu planning? I hear you! The answer though is definitely not to just throw caution to the wind, and give up on menu planning, because menu planning and grocery shopping for the week or month, actually end up saving a lot of time and frustration in the long run!
To simplify my meal planning, I sat down this week, and made a quick list of meals that I knew everyone in my family would eat without complaining, and I decided I'm going to rotate them for a while, until I have the urge to do something more creative. How's that for easy menu planning!
Of course there have been times when I loved looking through tons of recipes to come up with a new menu plan each week, but now isn't one of those times. I simply want to have food on hand to make relatively healthy dinners that even my picky eaters will eat, so we're not tempted to blow money on eating out, and I don't have to spend lots of time planning meals.
I even made up a free printable to help! Just write your meals for the week at the bottom, and make your grocery list by section of the grocery store for fast shopping!
So in case you're feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of feeding your family, and would like an easy way to plan dinners quickly and effectively for the foreseeable future:
Ask your family to Brainstorm a list of their favorite meals. Of course, if they ask for ice-cream and doughnuts for dinner, you'll have to use your mom sense as to what's healthy for your family. 🙂
Here's a printable for you to pass around to your family members, to write down their favorites for you!
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Have each one list their favorite 7-10 dinners.
As you look over it, you’ll notice that some of you chose several of the same dinners as your favorite. This frequently will happen in a family, and it’s a good thing. Cross out the duplicates, and depending on how your family handles picky eating, you can also cross out anything that someone in the family absolutely hates.
Also keep in mind any allergies that certain family members may have!
Now hopefully, depending on how easy your family is to please, you should come up with a whole months worth of dinner ideas to rotate! If you do, fill in the printable below, and you'll be all set with a month's worth of dinner plans, which will save you tons of time each week!
If you need additional inspiration, I have tons of menu plans here with delicious dinner ideas:
Also, here are some super easy family friendly options too!
- Taco Dip
- Taco Casserole
- Beef and Spinach Pasta
- Hamburgers in the Oven
- Pasta or Spaghetti Squash with Hamburger and Pasta Sauce
- Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Toast and Fruit
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Rolls Ups
- Pizza and Veggies (in a hurry use English Muffins for Crust)
- Oven Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Super Easy Adobe Chicken Casserole
- Homemade Pizza
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie
- Easy Turkey Meatloaf
The advantages of having a list of doable meals are:
- that you can easily glance at it while making your grocery list, to see what you need to purchase for the week (or month)
- easily have meals covered with foods your family will eat.
Tip: Plan some fast easy meals for busy times. I also like making many of the meals on my list crockpot meals, because I can start dinner early in the day, when I tend to have a lot more energy than I do at dinnertime, and plus the crockpot is so forgiving with cooking time, it's hard to mess it up.
So if you'd like to simplify your dinner process, make a list to keep on hand, of your favorite meals, and start rotating them! 🙂
I have struggled with a couple of picky eaters in my family, and there was a time when I couldn't come up with a whole list of meals that everyone liked. Things have gotten better over the years, and if you need some encouragement too, I've written a post on what helped our family.