Well, hey there! It has been a week you guys. We have done alllll the things this week. Work, preschool, potty training, the first 2 year old class field trip, appointments, truck maintenance, cooking, laundry and <insert the rest of all the things>. All the normal things that tires a mama out by Friday. So happy Friyay to both of us, or happy any other day you are reading this on! You made it, in one piece!
Speaking of all the things…meal planning is one of those things that I do each week for our family. I know, I know…just add it to the list! But, I wanted to share with you how I keep myself sane when it comes to family meal planning that makes our meals simple and easy during the week. I have started using this system of meal planning and prepping for our weekend RV trips which has been a lifesaver for our small fridge. It also allows us to relax while we are at our campsite and not think about what our next meal is going to be. It has taken me 7 years to get my process down to be quick, easy and painless each week. Lucky for you, I will show you in less than 10 minutes! By implementing these simple tips, you might even save some $$ off your grocery bill each month.
So, today we are talking meal planning tips and hints for RV living to keep you organized, save you time and maybe little bit of money!
Tip # 1 - FIND A PLANNING SYSTEM THAT WORKS
It took me forever to try to figure out a system that worked for meal planning. After some Pinterest bullet journal inspiration, I finally settled on getting this Moleskin dotted notebook. If you have never heard of bullet journaling, please take a gander over to Pinterest and search for “BuJo”. I seriously had no idea it was a thing…very pretty and super inspirational. Anyway, I use this notebook to write out my meals for each day of the week. Here’s how I do it:
- List out each day of the week you are planning meals for. You can see in the pictures that I list Mon-Wed and then Thurs, Fri, Groceries on the next page. Make it pretty! I use these Sharpie Accent Highlighters and a plain old pen.
- Write in breakfast, lunch and dinner (or just the meals you want to plan for) for each day.
- Write in what you are planning to have for each meal. Most weeks, I’ll check to see if we have any leftover ingredients to plan my next week’s meals.
- Under the meal, write in your ingredients.
- Write the ingredients you don’t have under the “Groceries” section. This list is what you’ll use to grocery shop. I’ll stand in my kitchen when I do this part so I know what I have or don’t have. $$ saver right there!
Guess what!? Each week you plan your meals out, you just gave yourself one more week in the books of not planning a for a future week. Think about that. If you meal plan 10 weeks in a row and don’t want to meal plan one week, you already have 10 weeks of meal planning you can pull from. It’s a system that keeps on giving! I love that!
Tip # 2 - BE REAL AND SET GOALS
This one is super important! BE REAL WITH YOURSELF. If your family currently eats out 3 times a week, don’t try to go all in next week and cook 7 days a week. Plan to eat out some days and write those into your meal planning. The worst thing you can do is spend money on the all those groceries and still go out to eat.
But, do SET SOME GOALS. If you are eating out 3 days week, set a goal for 2 days a week. If it’s currently 2 times a week, set a goal for you and your family to drop it down to 1 day a week. If eating out isn’t a financial burden, enjoy that meal! We typically set our 1 day a week for Friday or Saturday….when I feel like cooking the least!
Tip # 3 - GETTING GROCERIES
Now that you have your set list of groceries, stick to it! I mean it! Add items to your “Grocery List” section of your week that you are running low on, but only shop from your list. This will save you more money than you can imagine. No extras thrown into the cart and no throwing out food at the end of the week.
We rarely head to the grocery store anymore because we are such impulse buyers. Hello bag of chips and oreos I will eat in one sitting but didn’t plan on buying! So, we like to do our grocery shopping online using Instacart. It is the easiest way to stick to our list and save ourselves a few hours grocery shopping. We wrote a whole blog post dedicated to our love for Instacart here! If your fave stores aren’t available on Instacart, see if they have order online, pickup in store. Our local Harris Teeter offers this and it’s what we used for a while after we moved to the area.
Implementing and Getting the Family Involved
Tip # 4 - MAKE THE PLAN KNOWN
Get you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to meal planning. Implement a system to let both of you know on Monday, we are making quesadillas for dinner. This way everyone knows whats for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- If you are the techy kind of couple, get an app that syncs up across both of your phones. For a while, we had an app called “Cozi” that we used. It has multiple features including a notepad that syncs up across phones. Hubby could pull the meal planning list up and see what was for dinner that night. We also had a section for groceries that we could both add to. If we were out of something, to the list it went! When going to the store, we could pull out the app and know what we needed. There are probably other syncing apps out there, but Cozi was easy to use and free.
- I think I’m just an old school kind of gal. The system we use now lives right on the fridge. I plan out my meals in my bullet journal and then add our dinners to a dry erase board each week. This magnetic dry erase board is super simple and I love the way it looks on my fridge. It even comes with the colored dry erase markers. Record the meals of the day, or add groceries to the grocery list section. Also add in some important notes on this board too! You will never hear the words “what’s for dinner” ever again!
Tip # 5 - ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS
Ask for suggestions from the family. What do meals do they like? What meals do they like but haven’t eaten in a while? What’s something they want in rotation that you haven’t tried making yet? Search pinterest and ask hubby “does this look like something you would like?”. This gets everyone involved and excited about what they are going to have for dinner. It also doesn’t leave all the planning up to you to come up with!
There are 5 easy family meal planning tips and hints that you can try this week!
Let us know if you try some of these and how they worked below!
Other RTL Blog Posts You Might Enjoy!
Up on the docket today are these quick and easy (and healthy!) baked eggplant parmesan bites! They are so simple to make and require some ingredients you may even have on hand. This recipe is great for families who do meatless Monday or are just looking for a healthy veggie alternative! We made these healthier over the years by baking the breaded eggplant instead of frying them. Make these eggplant parmesan bites your go-to recipe just as we have over the years! Your toddlers may even love them as well! *gasp!*
To all those looking for meal planning inspiration, a simple method to follow, or just that extra nudge to save yourself some money….I got you! Just follow these simple steps to download and print these free meal planning printables and get started!
You guys! It dawned on me that our family has now been using Instacart and getting our groceries delivered at our home for a full year!…and let me tell you, I don’t think we will ever NOT use an online grocery service from here on out. I think I even have the hubs hooked! We are both obsessed with using Instacart not only for the hassle and time savings, but we found that we actually started saving money. Yes, you read that right! We started S.A.V.I.N.G. money! Instacart for us means more homemade meals, less food waste, more money in our pockets and more time spent on stuff we need or want to be doing each week like RVing and spending time with family.