Quick Meal Planning

As every mom no doubt knows, life is hectic! Whether you work out of the home, in the home, or look after your children full-time, a mother's job is definitely straining and stressful. Mothers have to keep their home clean, do laundry, mend scraped knees, chauffer the kids to school and activities, help with homework, and on top of all that, they still have to figure out the answer to that eternal question - what's for dinner?

For all the moms out there, looking for a way to take some of the hassle out of family meals, there are a few tips that you have to know.First of all, choose a quiet time once a week when you have enough time to sit down and prepare your menu for the week ahead. If possible, schedule this time on your calendar for every week at the same time. Planning ahead takes a lot of hassle out of trying to decide what's for dinner each night.

Look through your cupboards, fridge, and freezer. Make a mental note of all of the food you already have in there. If you're not one that can remember such things, think about taking a written (or printed) inventory. Then, as you use things, you can add them to your next grocery list!

As you think of menu ideas and plan your grocery list, you should start with the food you'll need for dinner. You should plan your next week's dinner around the food that you already have. For example, if you have pasta, all you have to do is add a pasta sauce and ground beef to your list and there you go - spaghetti with meatballs.

Plan as many dinner ideas as you possibly can around what's already available in your kitchen. Once you've run out of meal plans, then you can start planning new meals from scratch.
Got dinner taken care of? Good. Now move on to breakfast. In many houses, this is fairly easy. Children like to eat things like toast and peanut butter, hot or cold cereal and fruit in the morning.

With breakfast sorted, move on to planning lunch. If you have older kids who prefer to eat the school lunch, you don't really have much that you have to worry about. If you have small children who are still at home, many times, they can actually be satisfied with leftovers from the night before!

To top off your grocery list, add all of the snacks, fruit, milk, juice, and various other little extra items that always seem to be in need.
Keep your weekly food shopping at exactly that - just once a week! Plan your weekly meals - all of them - and do just one shopping trip. It saves you a lot of time and money as you don't have to keep going back and forth to the grocery store, and you're less likely to buy impulse items.

Save yourself some time on food preparation too! Stick your weekly menu on your refrigerator so that all you have to do is glance at it to know what meat needs to be set out to thaw, or what ingredients need to be put in the slow cooker. This helps a lot as you can make a mental note of how much time you'll need to prepare dinner.

If you take the time to plan things out, you'll actually save more time than you lose in the planning and you'll definitely save money. It really does pay to plan ahead and be prepared!

With little thought and a bit of planning, you're well on your way to almost completely hassle-free meals. If only you could get your children to eat their vegetables!

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About The Author, Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker writes for All Things Pondered