Easy to use meal planning tools can make life way more convenient for you. It can stop you and your family from wasting food in which you are essentially throwing away money. Think about how much food you have cooked and was never eaten. Either it went into the trash because it did not taste good or sat in the fridge and got old. Being the frugal person that I am, that one really hurts.
What if you are trying to improve your health? Think about how much easier it will be to know what you are going to eat already and not have to think so hard about it. Eating on the fly or when you are stressed can derail you from reaching your goal. Having a plan in place can help combat those moments.
At a certain stage in life, meal planning can really save you a boatload of time and trouble. That stage is parenthood. When you have kids constantly asking you “What’s for dinner?” after you get home from a long stressful day of work, a meal plan can be your savior.
Guess what my friend? You no longer have to suffer. I have a list of easy to use meal planner tools for you to use. They have served me well and I want to share them with you, let us go over them. Shall we?
Dry Erase Board, Stickers, and Markers
I use dry erase boards regularly to jot down my thoughts and daily to-do list. In my home, we have them in almost every room. When I got married, my wife bought a few of the dry erase stickers and would write out our dinner plans for the week. They work wonderfully, especially if you are someone who needs to write things down to remember something.
Pinterest is a great meal planning tool and it is completely free. You can find so many ideas on there and pin them on your board. It is an all-around great organizational tool. You can make different categories on your board by breaking them down by meal type, cuisine, vegan, seafood, and so forth. The only thing about Pinterest is that you have to be careful, it can become quite addicting. When my wife first introduced me to Pinterest, I thought it was made to cater to women primarily but I was dead wrong and was sucked in immediately. You can organize your entire life there if you want to. It is my favorite social media platform now. Be sure to follow my Pinterest board for more ideas to live a healthy lifestyle.
Google Keep is an awesome tool for meal planning. I have used this for making a grocery list and syncing it with my Google Calendar with a reminder alarm that’ll go off once I’m near the grocery store. This way, I will not forget to stop to get the groceries. While in the store shopping, I can easily check items off the list literally. Another great feature is while I am shopping, if I share the list with my wife, she can add or remove items, send me a note or anything in real-time on that particular note. There is also the ability to categorize notes by title or color, make voice notes, add pictures, draw, and more.
Use a calendar to help with scheduling, be it a dry erase calendar, on your phone, or classic paper calendar. Every day of the week could be labeled or color-coded to represent what to eat. You could alternate between meatless and meat days. On the other hand, you could use a calendar to create a fasting schedule such as picking several days a month to fast. There are a number of ways to use a calendar to help with meal planning. By having a whole month planned out, you will lower the chances of stressing out over what to eat.
Grocery Store Weekly Sales & Specials
Take advantage of those weekly sales and specials grocery stores have. You can find them in the store itself, in your mail when they send them, or on their website. It is a great way to save money and plan out weekly meals. If they do not have a sale or special on everything you want, just build your meal around what is available at the time.
Weekly Meal Planner
A weekly meal planner is a great tool for meal planning as well. Breaking meals down week by week is the smart way to go. Honestly, think about how much space you have available to store food. Shopping weekly or bi-weekly based on your weekly meal planner may also help you manage funds, not overspend or overstock. All in all, it is your calendar broken down into something smaller making it more manageable.
I know at least when I was growing up, when there was no internet and dial-up internet just started to come about, we used cookbooks. Unlike today, you could not just press a button save a page where you found a recipe. Instead, I used page markers which are still great to use today to mark my favorite recipes in a cookbook. Not everyone has the technology, know-how, or maybe even taking a break from technology and would rather use a good ole cookbook. Page markers or even sticky notes; are great to use. You can make recipes and color code them, making it even easier to refer to when need be.
This is probably my favorite meal planning tool because you can totally customize it. You have been using it your whole life but never thought of using it in your home for yourself and your family. What I speak of, is a menu. We all have placed an order at some point in our lives that required us to use a menu. Do the same thing for home but create your own menu. I did this while being a stay-at-home dad during the COVID-19 pandemic. I grew tired of always trying to figure out what to feed my family, plus I wanted to make life easier on my wife since she is the primary cooker.
Therefore, I created a menu for the family. I simply wrote down all the meals that everyone enjoyed on a piece of paper to refer to. If you want to take it a step further, take a picture of the meal and place it under the title. Hang the menu up in the kitchen or dining room; if you do not want to that, create a pamphlet. You want to take it even further, go ahead and create a family cookbook. Having a menu based on all the meals or foods you and your family enjoy will be of great help.
Meal Delivery Service
If you do not want to do much planning at all, consider a meal delivery service in which the meals are already planned out for you or you have the option to pick meals out. All you have to do is cook it yourself or warm it up, then enjoy. It gets no easier than that. Check out the list below of companies that provide this type of service.
- Purple Carrot– easy to cook new and inspiring vegan meals.
- Green Chef – deliver on the specialty meal plans that customers are seeking; whether it’s paleo, vegan, or gluten-free.
- Blue Apron – create incredible home-cooked meals with ease. They work directly with farmers and artisans to deliver quality meal kits nationwide.
- Home Chef – choose new chef-inspired recipes each week and receive fresh ingredients right at their door.
- Gobble – a convenient, fast, easy, and flexible way to cook dinners for your family in under 10 minutes.
- Cook Unity – like having a personal chef because every week, the best NYC private chefs craft 150+ delicious and healthy meals using the best ingredients. They can customize weekly meal plans for any diet and preference to your doorstep.
- Every Plate – deliver amazing meals at a price that everyone can get behind. Customers enjoy fresh, quality meals made possible by EveryPlate’s trusty suppliers & genius chefs that make sure everything recipe is delicious.
- Top Chef Meals – access customizable prepared meals with no subscription necessary. The way it works is your patrons get to choose from over 75 entrees and rotating specials. They can then customize to order fresh and finally, the ready-to-eat meals are delivered.
There you have it folks, some amazing meal planner tools to use to help make life easier for you and yours. Life is already complicated as it is these days, simplify it by applying all the above as needed. Figuring out what to eat should not be like trying to solve some complex problem. Although for some depending on their health, it may be but that is when one should really look into setting up an appointment with a registered dietician or licensed nutritionist.
Before you head out, stop by my online healthy lifestyle shop and resource page to further explore products and companies that can also aid you. Take a holistic approach towards your health and take care of yourself as a whole.
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You