I like to be organized. I am a busy working mom, so meal panning saves me time, money and stress. Here is the process I currently use.
1. Talk to my family
I ask them if there are any specific meals that they want for the coming week.
2. I look at the grocery store circular to see what is on sale for the week as that may influence the meals.
For example, if cherries are on sale, I will add them to the list. I tend to buy a few different types of fruit, but try to get the ones that are on sale.
3. Make a list of meals for the week.
This is typically a combination of meals we make on a regular basis plus new recipes I found on Pinterest/social media. I try to cook dinner five or six nights a week.
4. Do a quick inventory of cabinets and fridge.
If I run out of something that we consider to be a “staple” in our house, we write it down on the magnetic pad on the fridge. I check the cabinets and fridge to see what we have.
5. Make a shopping list of the items needed.
I like to split the list up into categories: Produce, Meat, Dairy, Paper Goods, Health and Beauty Items, Canned, etc.
6. I make sure I have breakfast, lunch and snack options.
I typically make sure we have two or three options for both breakfast and lunch. Then I add any items to the list that are needed for breakfast and lunch such as cereal, eggs, bread, etc.
7. Once the list is finalized, I head to the grocery store.
I make sure my kids have snacks and drinks because nothing is worse than grocery shopping with “hangry” children.
8. I come home, put everything away and begin my meal prepping process (if I decide to do it that week).