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I have a gift for each and everyone of my lovely readers today! I'm talking about this lovely Menu Planner and Grocery List Printable Set - a free download just for being here! Save time and money with this great resource.
Why you need to plan your meals:
Busy moms (and dads) need to plan ahead to make the most of weeknights especially with sports, activities and homework. Using a menu planner all boils down to saving you time, money and stress!
- First of all, using a menu planner means you will save money! Instead of wandering around the grocery store aimlessly sticking stuff in your cart, you'll have a plan and can shop for only what you need.
- Planning your meals ahead of time means you don't have to stress about "what's for dinner" at the end of a hectic day.
- When you use a menu planner and shop for the ingredients you need, you'll have everything on hand.
- Modeling this good organizational habit is a great way to teach kids about the importance of not only planning ahead, but also budgeting.
- Menu planning also means you'll waste less food, and you don't buy last minute stuff at the store when you're tired and hungry.
- Planing ahead also means that you can prep some of the ingredients ahead of time to save you time later on in the week.
What is meal prepping?
Meal prepping is super easy to do when you are using a meal planner like this free download. After you've shopped for your groceries, take a few minutes looking over your meal planner and see what you can do ahead of time. Chopping onions or peppers and peeling carrots are great examples of easy things to prep.
I use these containers to store chopped veggies in the fridge. I just write the contents and date with a Sharpie, which comes off with a few swipes of a magic eraser.
Keep in mind that some foods like cucumbers and potatoes are better cut right when you want to use them.
Get your family involved:
In my house, not everyone likes the same things. Assign each family member a day and they get to choose (within reason) the meal for that day. Some of our family favorites are
- ONE PAN: Mr. Juggling Act loves Sheet Pan Chorizo Sausage Dinner. Prepping on the weekends means I can throw together this one-pan meal in no time!
- 30 MINUTE MEAL: Everyone needs a good 30 minute meal in their recipe box and this Italian Sausage Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes does the trick.
- INSTANT POT: When I want a meal that feels like Sunday but in a fraction of the time, I go for Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin Dinner. An Instant Pot is a fabulous time saver in the kitchen!
- SLOW COOKER: Olivia loves tacos and burritos, so my classic Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a great recipe to make on the weekend. I just pull out what I need and put together awesome meals in no time. If you don't have a Slow Cooker, get one! Then check out my tips on How to Use a Slow Cooker Like a Boss.
- INSTEAD OF TAKE OUT: Ethan is my picky eater but even he loves pizza. Making Mini Pizza with frozen bread dough is a fun way to get the kids in the kitchen, and everyone gets what they want. This is a great Friday night alternative to take out. Serve these little pizzas with a salad for a filling dinner.
Free Printable: Menu Planner and Grocery List Printable Set
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This menu has space for all your meals - not just dinner. I'm always trying to come up with creative ideas for the kid's breakfast and lunch meals, as well as dinner. Just because they eat a cold lunch at school, doesn't mean it has to be boring, right? And the snacks? Well, I like to have some healthy things on hand, as well as other snacks. It might be mango fruit leather, homemade granola bars, or even some cookies, but knowing what I want to give the kids makes me check to be sure I have the supplies on hand.
Grocery List Printable
This grocery list covers the basics. And in case your list is really long - I'm including a coordinating lined paper that you can use for additional items or notes. Print them back to back to save on paper.
Grocery Pick Up and Delivery
Another option to save loads of time is to skip the grocery shopping altogether. Check out your local grocery store for pick up availability in your area. Here are some examples of stores where you can take your menu planner to the next level by ordering groceries online.
- H-E-B offers both curbside grocery pick up and home delivery in select stores.
- Albertson's offers flexible delivery or "drive up and go" services at some locations.
- Safeway/Von offers both pick up and delivery services and there are no fees.
- Kroger's grocery pick up (formerly ClickList) waives the fee for your first three pick up orders. Fees vary by region.
- Hannaford to Go is a great program with a small fee for grocery pick up.
- Walmart Grocery Pick Up is easy to use and means you don't have to drag your kids through the store!
- Other stores such as Price Rite, CVS, BJ's Wholesale Club and even Petco offer pick up and/or delivery services using InstaCart.
Order through this link and receive $10 off your first Walmart Grocery Pick Up Order!
Awesome recipes from fellow bloggers
To get your started on your menu planning, check out these super delicious weeknight recipes:
- When you're craving comfort food in a hurry, try this Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese from Bowl Me Over.
- Sheet pan meals mean super easy clean up and this Italian Pork Chop Sheet Pan Dinner from Love Bakes Good Cakes is no exception!
- Simply Designing's recipe for Grilled Citrus Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa Taco is a fun way to switch up classic tacos.
- These Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs from Let's Dish Recipes can be served with noodles or rice and steamed veggies for a great weeknight dinner.