I have a love/hate relationship with meal planning. I love the benefits it provides me, but I sometimes resent the work involved. I mean, why can’t the meal fairy just show up every time it’s time to eat?
The truth is, once I start the process I’m so grateful I took the time to be prepared and it’s really not that hard once I get into a groove. Even though I’m an intuitive cook who knows my way around the kitchen well, I still need a little help getting inspired and planning. I have more recipes that I know what to do with on my website, but I still have to plan and be inspired.
I know many of you feel the same way and have asked me for help in this department. So today, I’m going to share with you what I have been using to help streamline meal planning so I can just keep putting food on the table without a huge fuss.
I started using Real Plans last fall. It’s a meal planning service that you can join (monthly or annually) and have access to their amazing database of recipes. Each week, they map out a meal plan for 5 breakfasts and 6 dinners and some extras to have on hand.
You can even select food items you do not want included in any of the recipes that come up for you. So, for example, if you need to avoid wheat, dairy, and tomatoes you can select to exclude them. The system cross references all recipes to only pull up the ones that do not contain those items. Pretty great, right?
The member area is very user-friendly with a lot of tutorials and plenty of support should you need it. They have been continually tweaking, adding, and updating the past 6 months I have been using it.
Real Plans was created by a fellow Real Food Blogger and her husband when they saw the need for this, and they’ve been on a mission to make real food easier for busy families.
I highly recommend you check it out – it’s very customizable. Like I said, I know my way around the kitchen and am very creative, and I still benefit from using this planning tool for both organization and inspiration.
Also, you are welcome to check out my Meal Plan Template and print it out. I print out 4 at the beginning of each month and start to frame out the month, so once a month I do a bit more legwork than weekly when I go back for 20 minutes and finish filling it out. This streamlines my efforts and time. Check out my post: How To Plan A Gluten Free Menu in 6 Easy Steps.
Oh, and did I mention you can also print out shopping lists? And, they give you a prep timeline. Super cool right?!
There is no risk to check it out and the cost is so minimal. It will save you so much money in the long run.