Effortless Eating: 3 Tips for Creating Your Family’s Meal Plan

Woman creating her family's meal plan

If you’re responsible for preparing nutritious and satisfying family meals, you know how challenging it can be to plan, shop, and ensure everything gets on the table on time. But there’s help available! 

By creating a detailed monthly meal plan, you can transform chaotic mealtimes into stress-free moments. And with a household assistant by your side, family dinners become even more seamless and satisfying for everyone.

Benefits of a Monthly Meal Plan

Creating a family meal plan is generally better than coming up with something to make and eat on the fly. But if the idea of developing a detailed plan for your family’s meals seems daunting, just know there are many available resources to help you. You can create your own template or use family meal planner templates and weekly meal plan printables. Sites such as Canva and 101Planners offer free, downloadable meal prep templates. 

With a meal plan in place, you can realize the following benefits:

Save time.

Planning meals in advance gives you more time to cook and enjoy meals with your family. You already know the day’s meals, so you can get right to defrosting, cutting vegetables, and preheating the oven instead of taking time debating meal options.

Make mealtime less stressful.

With a set meal plan, you don’t need to plan on the fly, feel rushed, or work under pressure. You can take your time and ensure meals come out as you envisioned.

You may eat healthier.

A recent study found that American families spend about 20 percent more on restaurant food than they spend on groceries. Meal planning reduces the odds of throwing your hands up and deciding to go out or order a quicker—but potentially less healthy—meal. 

You could save money.

Planning your family menu makes grocery shopping more efficient. You can buy in bulk where it’s practical and purchase produce items when they’re in season or on sale. One mom says she cuts down on food waste and saves $500/month by meal planning.

[Related: 10 Things You’d Love To Never Do Again]

Three Game-Changing Family Meal Planning Ideas

If you would like to simplify daily meal prep and give monthly meal planning a try, here’s how you can get started:

1. Build your family menu plan template.

An editable monthly template allows you to avoid starting from scratch every month. Some elements to include in your template are:

  • A list of potential meals
  • All the ingredients you’ll need for each meal
  • A list of items you’ll need to replenish routinely versus staples you always have on hand

To stay consistent, pick a time each month or week to create and update your meal plan. If you have a household assistant to help, they can match your shopping list with what’s already in your fridge and pantry, do the shopping, and handle the daily meal prep for you.

2. Consider meal choices that mesh with your schedule.

Since each day is different, it’s a good idea to determine which meals are better for busy days and which are more appropriate for days you anticipate having more time to pull meals together. 

For example, you may decide to have designated days for cooking, ordering in, and going out. You can also have days when you’ll prepare meals from a food delivery service such as Blue Apron or HelloFresh. And don’t forget leftovers! They can be great for those days when you have no time to cook, order in, or go out.

3. Incorporate a variety of food.

Planning 30 days of meals allows you to build variety into your plan. You can categorize meals by: 

  • Cooking time
  • Cooking method: Hands-on versus slow cooker and one-pot meals
  • Complexity level: Meals your partner or older children can handle and those you’ll need to prepare
  • Cuisine: A mix of Italian, Indian, or whatever you choose reduces the chance of hearing “Not chicken again!” from the family
  • Meal type: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts

As your monthly meal plan comes together, it may be beneficial to post it for everyone in the family to see. If you’re running late or busy at mealtime, someone else can cook or at least get the meal started before you arrive.

[Related: Do Successful People Outsource? The Answer is Yes.]

How a Pepper’s Household Assistant Can Help

Pepper’s household assistants are quick learners capable of executing your monthly meal plan, so you don’t have to do everything yourself. They’re well-trained and work independently, saving you time and money without sacrificing quality.

In addition to all the other household chores a Pepper’s household assistant can perform, your assistant can also take on these tasks:

  • Planning meals based on your input and direction
  • Shopping for groceries (including at the faraway shops you usually don’t have time to visit)
  • Organizing your refrigerator and pantry
  • Keeping a list of your preferred food brands, stores, and other preferences, such as organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and so forth 
  • Performing meal prep

All you have to do is come in and cook. Alternatively, if you need an assistant who cooks, Pepper’s can help you with that, too!

Simplify Your Life with a Household Assistant

Meal planning is just one of the many time-consuming tasks a household assistant can manage to make your household run smoother and give you more time for the things that matter most in your life. To learn more, download our guide, What Your Life Could Look Like With a Household Assistant.

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