Meal Planning Saved My Sanity


It’s almost 5 o’clock, which means my husband will be home from work soon, the baby is about to start her witching hour, and our 4-year-old will suddenly act like he hasn’t been fed all day. Oh, and in the middle of all this craziness, somehow dinner is supposed to be made. Although I would love to wear the title of superwoman and say that I have this all under control, I SO do not!!! Knowing this, I do everything I can to make this time of the night easier for myself and, in turn, everyone else, too.

Enter meal planning.

I know a lot of people think meal planning is eating the same thing for multiple days, but that is not what it looks like for us. Typically, I will sit down on Friday (the day I normally do our grocery shopping) and plan out all of our meals for the coming weekend and workweek. When deciding on dinners, I try to plan around the food and ingredients we already have. This has been so helpful with clearing out our fridge and pantry. And a huge bonus, it has actually saved us money! It took me a while to get in the habit of this, but now it is second nature.

meal planning

Now, I want to clarify something; meal planning DOES NOT mean we have crazy elaborate homemade dinners every night. This is something that I have had to give myself grace for the last few years as we have added kids to the mix. I love to cook and thoroughly enjoy taking my time in the kitchen, but that just doesn’t work in this season of life. And that’s okay!

Our weekly meal plan typically looks something like this: a minimum of four homemade dinners, one to two nights of leftovers, and normally one night of super-easy food or eating out (depending on schedules or events). I’ll typically cook enough so that we have leftovers, especially of our favorite meals! We will then either eat them later in the week or I will freeze them for another night. My future self is always very thankful for those freezer meals!

Before planning our meals out, dinner time would come and I would frantically try to throw something together, which is really hard to do when the chicken or meat hasn’t been thawed out. I definitely learned that one the hard way!

I’ll leave you with a few tips and tricks for meal planning I have learned over the last few years; hopefully, they will save your sanity, too!

  • Make at least half of your meals super easy (find those go-to family favorites and stick to them).
  • Crock-Pots are game-changers.
  • Don’t be afraid to swap dinners around during the week.
  • Prep as much as you can throughout the day.
  • It is more than ok to say ‘yes’ to PB & J.

That last one is the tried and true when all else fails! Meal planning does not have to be fancy, the whole purpose is to eliminate stress and hopefully help your evenings go smoother. So, when the baby is crying, or you are being asked for the hundredth time for a snack, at least you can know that the guesswork of dinner has been taken care of. Happy planning, Mamas!

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Hey there, I'm Rebecca! I am a believer, proud military wife, Mama of 4; 2 in Heaven and 2 here with us. I’m originally from Florida, but we moved to Ohio about three years ago and I honestly LOVE the change. Dayton was quick to feel like home to us, and we've definitely been enjoying the seasons! Being a Mom is the happiest full-time job, but I love making the time to keep up with my personal interests as well. I run a blog and Instagram @theivynest; where I share a bit of our story and everyday life, along with my love of home decor and keeping things simple. Life is definitely busy, but I truly believe that it is equally as beautiful when we choose to see it that way!


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