I get so many questions about meal planning that I decided to share a brief FAQ to help you get a better understanding of meal planning and what it is.
Firstly, I’m not an expert. I’m just a mom who grew tired of eating the same meals every week and wanted to stop spending money at the grocery stores. With meal planning, I have managed to keep our family on a budget, eating healthy and trying new foods that we wouldn’t have made previously.
Question 1: What is the difference between meal planning and meal prep? Right now, for me, these fall under the same category. However, meal prep includes much more than writing out a simple meal menu. It may consist of preparing meals ahead of time — commonly knows as batch cooking or freezer cooking. Meal prep is essentially completing the brunt of the work ahead of time.
Question 2: How does meal planning save you money? Meal planning has allowed us to save money on the grocery budget because we have mapped out the meals for the week and only buy the required ingredients to make each meal. We no longer spend countless minutes down each aisle browsing the shelves, and we avoid those unnecessary purchases.
Question 3: How long does meal planning take? You can spend as little or as much time that you want on meal planning. Some weeks it takes me 30 minutes to put together a menu. Other weeks, it can take me 2 hours. It depends on how kitchen savvy you are. I’m not a great cook, but I can follow recipes. Most of my time is spent searching for new recipes to incorporate into my menu.
Question 4: Do you need a large budget to feed your family? I feed a family of 5 – mostly all eating adult portions for about $160 a week. Of course, this depends on the meals I choose, what is on sale and what I have already in the freezer/cupboards.
This week, I kept our menu basic. We still have those pork roast shoulders that we are trying to use up. As always, please remember, I post my weekly list to encourage menu planning and to give meal ideas, not as a nutritional standard. You should feed your family based on your priorities and values.
Here are the selected meals for this week.
Monday: Easy Broccoli and Beef Stir Fry
Tuesday: Ham & Swiss Sliders
Wednesday: Crockpot Lasagna
Thursday: Creamy Crockpot Chicken with Mixed Vegetables
Friday: Shepherd’s Pie
Saturday: Honey Ham, Mashed Potatoes, and Buttered Carrots
Sunday: Pork Roast, Mixed Vegetables, and Pasta Salad
If you have any questions that I missed, don’t be shy – hit me up with an e-mail or on Instagram and I’ll answer any questions about my ability.